Hayes, Marques 1926–
Marques Hayes 1926–
Marques Haynes used the basketball court as a stage from which to entertain generations of fans. As the “World’s Greatest Dribbler,” Haynes delighted basketball crowds spanning over four decades with his ball handling wizardry. Haynes performed in over 12,000 games during the course of his legendary career with the Harlem Globetrotters and various other teams specializing in comedic basketball.
Haynes, the youngest child of Matthew and Hattie Haynes, was born in a modest shack in Sand Springs, Oklahoma, on October 3, 1926. His father, a domestic laborer, left the family four years later. All of the Haynes children played basketball, so it was no surprise that Marques took up the sport at an early age. He learned to shoot primarily from an older sister, Cecil. A brother, Wendell, taught him how to dribble. Ball handling became Marques’ specialty. Of the family’s early basketball exploits, Haynes told William Nack of Sports Illustrated in a 1985 interview, “We’d take economy-size food cans and cut the bottoms out and tack them to the outhouse, then ball rags and tie them together and shoot baskets. Sometimes we’d find a barrel hoop on an empty lot and tie a feed ‘n’ graingunnysack to it for a net and use that for a basket.” Marques went on to star at Booker T. Washington High School, leading his team to an Oklahoma state championship in 1942.
Like his siblings, Haynes attended Langston University. He led the Langston basketball team to an impressive record of 112 wins, three losses and two conference titles. Langston also scored a victory over the touring Harlem Globetrotters. After that game, Haynes was offered a contract by the Globetrotters, but he turned it down in order to finish his education. “My mother would have killed me if I had left school,” he remarked to Sports Illustrated. In 1946, he earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial education.
Shortly after his graduation, Haynes signed with a barnstorming team called the Kansas City Stars. The Stars were, in essence, a farm team for the Globetrotters. In 1947, the Globetrotters signed Haynes to a contract. For the next seven years, he traveled across the United States with the Globetrotters. Billed as the “World’s Greatest Dribbler,” Haynes quickly became one of the team’s main attractions along with Reece “Goose” Tatum, who provided most of the comic relief. Haynes’ ball handling skills were amazing. His stunts included bouncing the ball three times per second, at a height as low as one inch off the floor. He could perform his wizardry in almost any position, including lying on his stomach.
When he first signed with the Globetrotters, Haynes earned $250 a month. His salary had escalated to $10, 000 a year by 1953, but it still paled in comparison to what his peers earned in the NBA. The NBA’s Philadelphia Warriors offered him a contract in 1953 and, two years later, the Minneapolis Lakers did the same. However, Haynes declined both offers. He left the Globetrotters during a financial dispute in 1953 and, along with Goose
Born Marques Oreole Haynes on October 3, 1926 in Sand Springs, OK; son of Matthew (a domestic employee) and Hattie Haynes; married Joan (a model); children: Marsha Kaye and Marquetta; Education: Langston University, BS, 1946.
Career: Began playing career with Kansas City Stars, 1946; Harlem Globetrotters, player, 1947–53; Fabulous Magicians, owner, coach, player, 1953–72; second stint with the Globetrotters, 1972–79; Meadowlark Lemon’s Bucketeers, player, 1979–81; Harlem Magicians, owner, player, 1983–88.
Awards: Elected to Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, 1998.
Addresses: Residence —Dallas, TX.
Tatum, formed his own touring team known as the Fabulous Magicians. Haynes practically ran the organization singlehandedly, serving as the team’s owner, president, booking agent, coach, and star player.
The Fabulous Magicians became a very profitable organization. In the team’s first year of operation, it grossed $700, 000. It earned even more money the following year. For the next two decades, Haynes toured with the Magicians and retained his title as the “World’s Greatest Dribbler.” In 1972, Haynes rejoined the Harlem Globetrotters. Since his departure in 1953, the Globetrotters had become internationally famous, performing on every continent and in front of many heads of state and members of royalty.
Although Haynes had achieved financial security, he was keenly aware of the financial inequities that African American basketball players faced in comparison to their white counterparts. He was equally appalled by the growing disparity between what members of the Globetrotters made—$37, 000 average for a nine-month, 300-game season—and salaries being paid to NBA players, who made an average of $100, 000 for 82 games over six months. He soon became president of a player’s union that represented members of the Globetrotters.
When the Globetrotters fired Haynes in July of 1979, he claimed that it was because of his union activities. The Globetrotters, Haynes argued, were using him as an example to discourage other players from supporting the union. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) apparently agreed, and awarded Haynes a settlement based on his complaint. In spite of the NLRB ruling, members of the Globetrotters charged that the team continued to engage in anti-union activities. Gerald Smith, who was fired from the team in 1980, told Jet, “I was in favor of what the union represented…but I wasn’t actively involved in anything. My problem stems from socializing with Haynes, which was against management’s wishes.”
After being fired by the Globetrotters, Haynes joined the Bucketeers, a team run by another former Globetrotter great, Meadowlark Lemon. Two years later, he was back with the Globetrotters for another stint, which lasted until 1983. That year, he left the Globetrotters again to form his own squad, the Harlem Magicians. Haynes retired as an active player in 1988, having played in more than 12, 000 professional games. In June of 1998, he was elected to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.
Chicago Tribune, July 1, 1998, sec. 4, p. 1.
Jet, May 15, 1980, p. 52; December 4, 1980, p. 49.
Sports Illustrated, April 22, 1985, p. 78.
Washington Post, June 30, 1998, p. B2.
—Robert R. Jacobson
"Hayes, Marques 1926–." Contemporary Black Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. (April 26, 2019). https://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/hayes-marques-1926
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