For many years he dribbled his way into the hearts of millions as the point guard of the Harlem Globetrotters, but Marques Haynes was more than just a ball-handling clown. Learning the game on the dirt streets of Sand Springs, OK, gave Haynes skills that led many to consider him the greatest ball-handler in the history of basketball. Haynes led Booker T. Washington High to the unofficial National Championship in 1941, while also being named a scholastic All-American that year.

Marques Haynes passed away Friday at his home in Plano, TX at the age of 89.

A serious player during his college days at Langston University in Langston, OK, Haynes came to the Globetrotters attention in a game against Sam Huston College (coached by the legendary Jackie Robinson), which took place during a conference tournament. Offended by SHC's blow-out of an undermanned opponent in the previous game, Haynes dribbled out the clock, all the while ridiculing his opponents and daring them to take the ball from him. They failed.

Haynes played with the Globetrotters from 1947-1953. Upon leaving in 1953, he turned down a $35,000 a year offer from the Philadelphia Warriors that would have made him the second-highest paid player in the NBA at the time, instead founding his own barnstorming team, the Harlem Magicians, a team that occasionally included boxing legend Sugar Ray Robinson.

Haynes later rejoined the Globetrotters in 1972, serving as a player/coach during the 1974/75 season and remained with the team through the 1979 season. He was a regular on the 1974-75 The Harlem Globetrotters Popcorn Machine TV show, and also played for the Harlem Wizards and Meadowlark Lemon's Bucketeers. Haynes retired in 1992, after a 46-year playing career. In 2001, the Globetrotters retired his number 20, in a star filled charity event.

Many consider Marques Haynes to be the premier ball-handler who ever lived, his style influencing players such as Bob Cousy, Pete Maravich, and his protoge with the Trotters, Fred "Curly" Neal. Many believe that Haynes, who stayed active in the game well into his 60's, has played more professional basketball games than anyone else in history.

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 honored Haynes, dedicating its basketball court as “Marques Haynes Court.”

The Globetrotters have announced they will dedicate their 2016, their 90th anniversary season, tour to Haynes. The club will wear a memorial patch with his number on their uniforms in tribute to Haynes.

According to reports, Haynes died peacefully, surrounded by family and friends. Funeral services are pending.

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