Legendary Harlem Globetrotter Marques Haynes – considered by many to be the greatest basketball dribbler of all-time – passed away in Plano, Texas, on May 22, 2015, at the age of 89.
In a four-decade career, Haynes played in more than 12,000 games, traveled more than four million miles and entertained fans in nearly 100 countries during two stints with the Globetrotters (1947-53, 1972-79). His dribbling style would confuse and confound opponents and became one of the Globetrotters' most potent offensive weapons.
“The game of basketball has lost one of its most iconic figures,” said Globetrotters CEO Kurt Schneider on the day of Haynes' passing. “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. 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."
The acrobatic Haynes caught the attention of Harlem Globetrotters owner Abe Saperstein in 1946, during a game in which Langston university defeated the Globetrotters, 74-70. Following graduation, Haynes joined the Globetrotters and starred for the team when it defeated the George Mikan-led Minneapolis Lakers in 1948 (61-59) and in 1949 (49-45).
In 1998, Haynes became the first player ever to be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a Globetrotter. He has been enshrined into a total of six Halls of Fame, including NAIA (1985), Jim Thorpe (1993) and Langston University (1995). On Dec. 8, 2007, Langston University honored Haynes by dedicating its basketball court as “Marques Haynes Court.”
Haynes received a Globetrotters “Legends” Ring and had his jersey (#20) retired as part of a 75th Anniversary black tie charity fund-raiser on Jan. 5, 2001, at Chicago's Fairmont Hotel.
Haynes' basketball career began at Booker T. Washington High School in his hometown of Sand Springs, Okla., where he led the school to a high school national championship in 1941 and was named a Second Team Scholastic All-America that season. Haynes then starred collegiately at Langston University in Langston, Okla. (1942-46), where he was a four-time All-Conference selection and team MVP. Haynes led Langston in scoring all four years and guided the team to a 112-3 record, a mark that included a 59-game winning streak.