The State Senate on Wednesday honored former Harlem Globetrotter and Oklahoma native Marques Haynes with the passage of Senate Concurrent Resolution 54, praising Haynes for his achievements and designating February 27, 2008, as Marques Haynes appreciation day in the state of Oklahoma.
Haynes graduated from Booker T. Washington High School in Sand Springs in 1942, after leading his team to two state championship victories. He would then go on to star for Langston University where he was a four-time all-state and all-conference selection. After receiving his bachelor degree in industrial education in 1946, he then embarked on a 51-year professional basketball career that would see him compete and perform all over the world.
Haynes credited his education at Langston University for not only his professional success, but the success throughout his life.
“Without Langston and the state of Oklahoma, of course, I doubt that there would have been any possibility at all for me to have achieved those things I achieved during my professional career,” Haynes said. “When I was first offered the contract with the Globetrotters, I looked at it this way I could play basketball as long as I wanted to probably without getting fired or hurt or whatever but there was always that possibility that someone could take that ball away from me, but there was one thing they couldn’t have possibly ever taken away from me and that was my education at Langston University.”
Sen. Judy Eason-McIntyre, author of SCR 54, said Haynes' on-court exploits and off-court leadership were instrumental in bringing about the integration of professional basketball and eventually all American professional sports.
"Marques Haynes has long been known as the world's greatest dribbler and his athletic skills have made him a household name for basketball fans all over the world," said Eason-McIntyre, D-Tulsa. "However, it was his leadership skills and social conscience that helped bring about the integration of professional basketball in America, and for this we owe him a tremendous debt of gratitude."
In 1948, Haynes led the Harlem Globetrotters to a 61-59 victory over the Minnesota Lakers in a contest that would later be regarded as the game that perhaps had the greatest impact in integrating American professional basketball. Haynes also served as President of the player's union for the Harlem Globetrotters. During his collegiate career, Haynes once led the Langston Lions to a victory over the visiting Globetrotters. He then declined a contract offer from the professional club, choosing instead to complete his university education.
Haynes was the first Globetrotter to be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame and the New York All Sports Hall of Fame.
"Marcus is one of the world's greatest basketball players and he casts a shadow over the game eclipsed by few to have ever stepped on a court," Eason-McIntyre said. "His career story is a testament to selflessness, dedication and all the qualities needed to achieve greatness in any field. Marques is a great Oklahoman, and we take tremendous pride in his achievements."
Haynes is also a member of the Langston University Hall of Fame, the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame and the Jim Thorpe Hall of Fame. His career saw him play in over 12,000 professional games, scoring more than 250,000 points. Throughout his career, he traveled more than 4 million miles, played in all 50 states and approximately 100 countries on six continents.