Haynes is a remarkably even man, and certainly no humorist, although his business is making people laugh. The years of one-nighters seem to have made his life a gently flowing river rather than the jagged rapids that experience usually imposes. He adapts so easily. Here he is, talking about the great old Globetrotter teams playing and beating the College All-Stars year in and year out in the '50s: "And these were all great players. Paul Arizin out of Villanova, Mark Workman out of West Virginia, Kevin O'Shea out of Notre Dame...." Moments later he is talking of Biella: "And we're in all the finest stores. Strawbridge & Clothier out of Philadelphia, J.L. Hudson out of Detroit, G. Fox out of Hartford...."
Marques moves out of the locker room now. The Kalbris, on the floor, are getting into their act. Ashley and Flann come off, breathing hard from another close Ping-Pong game; they keep them close. Haynes greets them. "Hello, Bob. Hello, Darryl." He is an inveterate greeter, but while he may greet the same person dozens of times a day, he makes each encounter sound special. Bob nods and smiles back. Darryl says, "Hello, Mr. Haynes."
In the locker room there is a cackle from Geese; the first-place bid-whist team of Ausbie and Lemon has won another. In the hall, Leonardo is practicing his hat-twirling routine. Vino Venito and Nate Branch bounce a basketball back and forth. Two of the Opposition squat up against the wall, poring over paperbacks. Marquetta Haynes and Joy Mason chat. Joe Celentano, the referee, pushes the baby of the promoter around in a stroller, cooing to it while he smokes a cigarette.
Marques wanders through the diverse scene, nodding and saying hello. "Hello, jugglers," he says to the Trio Biarco, and they stop warming up to respond in a patois of Spanish and English. Haynes asks the girl in the trio if her upset stomach is better, and she assures him it is. "I'll tell you what," he says. "Take a shot of blackberry brandy—two shots if you're a drinker." He winks, she smiles. "I have Haynes remedies without medicine for everything," he explains. Going back the other way, he says hello to Joe Celentano, Larry Sample and Jim Boyle of the Opposition, and Luigi, the truck driver: "Hello, Joe; hey, there, Larry; hey, Jim; hi, Luigi." Meadow and Geese are calling him and his partner. Wolfman, for a quick hand of bid whist before they have to go on....
"...il magnifico, il fabioso, il stupendo—Harlem Globetrotters!!!!"
Dribbling, Marques leads them out in those gloriously cluttered uniforms: red, white and blue and yellow, stars all over, horizontal stripes and vertical stripes, letters and numbers—everything but STP stickers. The search for laughs begins with the introduction and the Sweet Georgia Brown circle and will last clear until Meadowlark takes his half-court hook shot and then hustles into the pivot to work off the last weave, finally scrambling onto the cornerman's shoulders for the dunk at the buzzer.
Each game, or show, is almost a duplication of every other, and the fans are so conditioned by now that even their reaction hardly varies. The early minutes of each quarter are reserved by tradition to pretty straight basketball. The reems do not begin until there are about six minutes left in a period. If there is no scoreboard clock, as is often the case in Europe, Tom Brennan, at the scorer's table, lets the Globies know how much time is remaining with cues based on playing cards. "A trey," shouted by Brennan means, for example, that three minutes are left.
The Globies need few signals. A few specific reems have titles: Connie C, Clean-Up, Raise 'em Up and the like. Mostly, however, it is just vernacular exhortations. "Let's sell something" means it is time to be funny. "You're on your own" comes from Brennan and means that the clock has run out, so it is time to work into the reem always used to end that quarter. "Let's get outta here" from Lemon indicates the same thing.
He makes his bizarre stiff-armed hook shot from half-court a remarkably high percentage of the time (earning, by the by, a $100 bonus every time he does), and when he clicks there is a sudden sense of urgency on the floor because the feat drives a crowd berserk—it is obvious that most fans think he makes it every night, just as The Great Leonardo gets all his plates spinning every night—and then all the Globies are shouting, "Let's get outta here," so they can get the final dunk in while the fans are still up and screaming from the hook shot.
Oh, that is electric. It is like seeing Marlene Dietrich singing Falling In Love Again. Then, right afterward, in conclusion, the Globetrotters walk around the court, their arms held high above their heads, responding to the cheers like emperors.