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Of these early Globies, only Haynes is still playing games, still out there on the road. Only Long Tom Smith, a boyhood pal of Haynes's from Sand Springs, Okla. who had a cup of coffee with the Globies, is there to remind him of the past. Smith, the Magicians' regular driver, was snoozing in the seat behind Haynes. The bus's fuel gauge read nearly empty. Haynes flipped a switch, engaging the auxiliary tank, and the dial swept back to full.
Haynes laughed. "We didn't have anything like this in the '40s, early '50s," he said. "Traveling now is a heck of a lot more comfortable. Here we have a custom-made bus for 11 passengers, with reclining cushioned seats, plenty of leg-and headroom. The guys can get up and move around. All we had in the old days was an old Army carryall with a bare metal roof that didn't have any insulation in it."
For the Globies in those days, more to be feared on the road than a redneck were the icicles that grew like spears from the roof inside the bus and makeshift heaters that could set your pants on fire. "In the wintertime, icicles formed, and we had to keep them broken off so they didn't stick in our heads if we hit a bump," said Haynes. "No heating system. Forget it. We had blankets that we wrapped around and between our legs, and each guy had an old kerosene lantern, a railroad lantern, that he lit and set under his blanket to stay warm. Later the Globetrotters got one of those old school buses to drive around in, but it was just as cold as that old carryall."
That Marques Haynes is a final link to that past, the last vestige of an age gone by, is a truth that he carries with him like an old railroad lantern, a light of this land's history that he swings alone in the dark. Whistle Sweet Georgia Brown, and in his mind's eye he sees Clifton shooting over George Mikan. Or Wheeler bouncing a pass behind a pick. Or Tatum, the only authentic genius he ever knew to play comedy basketball, dressed in a hula skirt in a game in Hawaii, swiveling his hips in the pivot, his skirt swishing, his eyes apop with glee and his pearly whites shining, and the fans crammed into the gym breaking up.
"He got in the pivot and started making those gangly, crazy moves with that skirt on, and people were laughing so hard they were crying," Haynes says. "He had players on the bench falling over each other. You laughed at Goose just looking at him. He's the best I've seen in all of my years and of all the guys I've played with or seen perform in this type of basketball. No one will ever match him. You laugh at him now just thinking about him."
Haynes is thinking about those nights now. He laughs and then he doesn't. Yes, Reece (Goose) Tatum was the funniest, oddest, most peculiar man he ever met—funny and mean, kind and generous, alone and sad, a racist who hated whites yet played the clown for them, a captive in his own house of mirrors. "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde had nothing on Goose," says Haynes.
Marques can remember a frigid night in Cincinnati, when it was 15° outside, and Tatum's door opened and he dragged his third wife, Naomi, outside by her hair, threatening to leave her out in the cold, until Grider came along, breaking the tension.
"What are you doin'?" yelled Grider.
"I'm gonna throw her out the door!" Tatum screamed. Grider told Goose to cool it, then he took off his coat, wrapped it around her and helped her back to the room.
Haynes recalls leaving Chicago Stadium one afternoon, between games of a double-header, and seeing Tatum race by at a full gallop. Tatum's wife at the time, Nona, was after him with a pistol, and two cops were on her tail. "She was shooting at him," Haynes recalls. "Ka-pow! Ka-pow! All of a sudden one of the bullets hit his right ear, and Goose went into second gear. Ka-pow! He showed up for the second game with his right ear bandaged. She was a lovely person. I have no idea why she was chasing him.