"Our motto is 'Live to Give,' " Lemon told about 75 people gathered at the first of two rallies in the mall's food court. "There's always someone that you can give something to. ... You have to ask yourself, 'What did I do today for God?' "
Lemon handled a red, white and blue basketball as he spoke to the crowd. Hagerstown youth Jason Selph was surprised when the ball came flying in his direction.
"You have to stay on your toes. Be ready," Lemon told Jason as he passed the youth the ball from his head, the back of his knees and around his waist.
Jason, 13, was even more surprised when Lemon autographed the ball for him as a souvenir.
"This is really cool," he said. "I didn't expect it."
Natalie Powers, 10, listened to Lemon's talk with a miniature basketball in hand. The Hagerstown youngster said she planned to ask Lemon to sign the ball for her.
"He's cool," she said.
Lemon's inspirational message impressed Henry McCall just about as much as the basketball star's "patent hook shot" from center court, he said. McCall, of Hagerstown, remembered watching Lemon toss the ball into the net from the center of the court during a Globetrotters exhibition game in Baltimore decades ago, he said.
"It's a thrill to see him," said Scott Nicewarner of Hagerstown. "He's a great role model."
Lemon visited Washington County as part of "Meadowlark Lemon Weekend" planned to celebrate the Hagerstown Junior Basketball League's 55th season.
Lemon was grand marshal of the 78th Alsatia Mummers' Parade on Saturday night.