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Marques Haynes Tribute Released by NBA After Globetrotter's Death

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMay 24, 2015

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2008, file photo, former Harlem Globetrotters great Marques Haynes holds a photo circa 1951 of himself  in his Globetrotters uniform, in Plano, Texas. Haynes died Friday, May 22, 2015, in Plano, Texas. He was 89.  (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, File)
Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

The NBA released a tribute video Saturday in honor of Marques Haynes, the Harlem Globetrotters legend who died at the age of 89 on Friday. 

The minute-long video highlights the innumerable contributions made by Haynes, who is best known for his incredible dribbling skills. Haynes, who joined the Globetrotters in 1947 after playing college ball at Langston University, is one of the most famous players in the team's history. He helped turn the Globetrotters into a global phenomenon, touring the world before leaving the team for the first time in 1953.

Renowned for his ability to keep his dribble away from defenders, Haynes turned down multiple NBA offers in his post-Globetrotters days, instead choosing to stay on the independent circuit. He'd return to Harlem after a nearly two-decade absence in 1972 before eventually leaving the team for good in 1979.

The Basketball Hall of Fame eventually made Haynes the first Globetrotter to be inducted. Overall, he spent parts of six decades playing professional basketball, though it all came far away from the NBA/ABA spotlight of his prime. 

Haynes died Friday in Plano, Texas, of natural causes, per the Associated Press.

Uncredited/Associated Press

“The game of basketball has lost one of its most iconic figures,” Globetrotters CEO Kurt Schneider said in a statement. “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."

While he never played in the NBA, Haynes' contributions to the way we watch the game now are innumerable. Every Stephen Curry step-back, Kyrie Irving ankle-breaker or James Harden stutter step can be in some way attributed to the innovations Haynes made off the dribble.

It's only right that Haynes is honored in a way fitting of all he meant.

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