Marques Haynes (141695)

Long before Bob Cousy, Earl “The Pearl” Monroe and Pete Maravich graced the hardwoods, there was Marques Haynes. The famous dribbling wizzard of the Harlem Globetrotters died on Friday in Plano, Texas. He was 89.

Hayes was once considered the greatest dribbler in basketball history. He played in more than 12,000 games, traveling more than 4 million miles and visited more than 100 countries for a team that combined dazzling skills, theatrical flair and circus-like comedic antics. He was the Globetrotters’ player-coach in 1975-75.

The Globetrotters announced they will dedicate their 90th anniversary tour in 2016 to Haynes and will wear a special uniform patch in tribute.

“Marques was a pioneer, helping pave the way for people of all races to have opportunities to play basketball, and for the sport to explode on a global scale,” said Kurt Schneider, CEO of the Harlem Globetrotters. “His unique and groundbreaking style of play set the tone for modern basketball as we know it. Anyone involved with basketball worldwide is indebted to Marques. He was the consummate Globetrotter.”

Haynes was more than a showman on court, although his dribbling skills or “handles” were show-stopping displays of agility and prowess. He made the basketball Hall of Fame in 1998, the first Globetrotter to be so honored. He had two stints with the touring team, first from 1947-1953, and again from 1972-1979.

While playing for Langston University in Oklahoma, Haynes caught the attention of Globetrotters owner Abe Saperstein in 1946. Hayes was a four-time all conference choice and team MVP during his collegiate years. The team had a 112-3 record during his tenure, including a 59-game winning streak. After graduation, Haynes joined the Globetrotters and once led the team to a victory against the George Mikan-led Minneapolis Lakers in 1948 and again in 1949. In high school, Haynes led Booker T. Washington High in his hometown of Sand Springs, Okla. to the unofficial prep national championship in 1941 and was a scholastic All-American that season.

Funeral arrangements are pending.