Harlem Globetrotters legend Marques Haynes died Friday of natural causes in Plano, Texas, the team announced. He was 89.
The first member of the Globetrotters to be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, in 1998, Haynes was often called the greatest dribbler in basketball history.
“Basketball has lost one of its most iconic figures,” said Globetrotters Chief Executive Kurt Schneider, whose team will wear a patch on their uniforms to honor Haynes during their 2016 tour.
Haynes was a scholastic All-American and helped Booker T. Washington High in Sand Springs, Okla., claim the unofficial national championship in 1941. He went on to lead Langston (Okla.) University in scoring four years in a row, helping the team compile a 112-3 record that included a 59-game winning streak.
In 1946, Haynes led Langston to a victory over the Globetrotters, catching the eye of owner Abe Saperstein in the process. After graduation Haynes started the first of his two stints with the Globetrotters, playing for the team from 1947 to '53 and again from 1972 to '79.
Haynes became best known for his incredible dribbling skills, which would often leave opposing players standing and staring in awe.
“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,” Schneider said. “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.