Meadowlark Lemon: Beyond the Court to the Pulpit

For 22 years he was known as the “Clown Prince” of the Harlem Globetrotters. But for basketball Hall of Famer Meadowlark Lemon, there was a larger, much larger, purpose for his life.

When I met him in 1987, Lemon was eager to talk about not just basketball, but about God.

Just a year before our interview, Lemon was ordained a Christian minister. And proud as he was of his on-court accomplishments, Meadowlark Lemon had much bigger things on his mind.

Also, be aware that my very first question to him, as you are about to hear, was worded in such a way that his response was worded in the third person. I should emphasize that is not the way he normally talked about himself, but was simply answering the question the way I had framed it.

So here now, from 1987, Meadowlark Lemon.

Meadowlark Lemon died in 2015. He was 83.

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Wilt Chamberlain

Walt Frazier

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Helen Prejean

How did a Roman Catholic nun wind up befriending a convicted killer on death row?

The answer to that deceptively simple question is found in Sister Helen Prejean’s bestselling 1993 book Dead Man Walking. If you haven’t read the book, you’ve probably seen the movie starring Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn.

Prejean is an outspoken and powerful voice against capital punishment. Her book has made millions of people reconsider their own positions on the death penalty.

I first met her shortly after her book was published. So here now, from 1993, Sister Helen Prejean.

Sister Helen Prejean celebrated her 84th birthday last week. And she is still working to eliminate the death penalty.

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William Kunstler
Polly Nelson

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Karen Armstrong

Who is God?

Photo: Vogler

Who is the all-knowing, all-powerful deity who, despite having different names, is at the heart of every major religion?

A former Roman Catholic nun who has become one of the world’s most renowned religious scholars, Karen Armstrong in 1994, wrote a book called A History of God.

This was the first of many conversations I had with her over the next few years.

So here now, from 1994, Karen Armstrong.

Karen Armstrong is 77 now. In 2014, she was made an honorary Doctor of Divinity by McGill University.

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Robert Schuller
Jim Bakker

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Jim Bakker

In the 1970s and 1980s, perhaps no one was more popular on Christian television than Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker.

Founders of the PTL club, and later the Heritage USA Christian theme park, the Bakkers also espoused a Theology of prosperity. God wanted you to do well financially, they told us.

But in the 1980s it came out that the Bakers were prospering a little bit too much off of the donations their viewers had set in. And after Jim Bakker was accused of sexually assaulting Church secretary Jessica Hahn, prosecutors moved to charge him with fraud.

Bakker was convicted, and in 1989 was sentenced to 45 years in prison.

But powerful allies, including famed defense attorney Alan dershowitz, came to Bakker’s Aid, and he was eventually paroled in 1994.

But not before Tammy Faye divorced him.

2 years after his release from prison, Bakker wrote a book based on things he says he learned about the Bible while in prison. The book was called I was wrong.

So here now, from 1996, my conversation with the Reverend Jim Bakker:

Jim Bakker is 81 now. He is still seen by millions on TV on The Jim Bakker Show with second wife Lori Bakker. Tammy Faye also remarried — she died in 2007 at age 65.

Andrea Jaeger


In 1981, at the age of 16, Andrea Jaeger was ranked number two in the world among professional women tennis players.

But at age 19, a shoulder injury ended her five-year pro career.

Within two years, however, Jaeger launched her second career as an advocate for children with life-threatening illnesses.

I met her almost 20 years later, when she wrote a book called “First Service,” the story of how faith in God inspired her, and changed her life.

So here now, from 2004, Andrea Jaeger:

Andrea Jaeger is 55 now,

Two years after our interview, Amdrea Jaeger became “Sister Andrea” — she’s a member of the Episcopal Church’s Anglican Order of Preachers.

Rev. Robert Schuller

On this Easter weekend, I wanted to share with you one of several comversations I had with one of the most popular of the TV evangelists of his day: Rev. Robert Schullt, creator of The Hour of Power, the leader of a congregation that worshiped in the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California.

In 1992, we met for an interview about a new book about his life. It was called “Goliath,” written by his son-in-law James Penner.

Here now, from 1992, Rev. Robert Schuller:

Rev. Robert Schuller died five years ago this month. He was 88.

Rev. Schuller’s Crystal Cathedral Ministries went bankrupt in 2010, and in 2012 the iconic building was sold to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange. Today it is the seat of the Diocese.