Lark in the 1960s
Globetrotter hailed from Tallassee
By Michael Butler
The Harlem Globetrotters are coming to Montgomery on Thursday night, Jan. 14 as part of their 2016 World Tour. The famous basketball showmen are celebrating their 90th year.
The team was regularly featured on television with their exhibitions and characterized on episodes of "Scooby Doo." Among the alumni include; Meadowlark Lemon, who passed away last month, Fred "Curly" Neal and even Wilt Chamberlain.
It is a little known fact that one of the former Globetrotters was born in Tallassee. Alto Lark, a 6-6 forward, played college basketball at Bluefield State in West Virginia. He was born in Log Circle on Dec. 13, 1936. He died on Sept. 4, 2009 at the age of 72.
Lark, was among eleven children of Rev. Vercie and Edna Lark. There were nine boys and two girls. The family moved to Dayton, Ohio when Alto was just six.
An all-conference player in college, Alto was drafted by the Globetrotters in 1959 and played with the group until 1964. He played some in the National Industrial Basketball League which later became the American Basketball Association (ABA).
Alto was married twice. He and Ramona Cunningham had two children. He remarried to Walta M. Winters in 1960. The two were together for 49 years until his death.
With a name like Alto, it was a natural for him to be a singer. In 1999, he traveled with Globetrotters for Jesus, a gospel singing group that mentored youth about the dangers of drugs. In 2000, Alto and his brothers formed the group the Lark Brothers.
The Harlem Globetrotters today have trademarked the term, Ambassadors of Goodwill™. The Globetrotters Great Asssist program allows fans to nominate worthwhile causes: GreatAssist.com. The team is planning to bring their bullying prevention program to over 400 schools and community centers.
The fun begins at 7:00 on Thursday evening at Garrett Coliseum. Tickets start at $20 and are now available at harlemglobetrotters.com.