- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
Haynes says he bears no bitterness, but he can't forget how difficult such attitudes made life on the road. In their February swing through the Carolinas and Georgia, Haynes and his troupe ate where they wanted, and occasionally a local would approach Haynes to shake his hand and wish him well. In Chamblee, they pulled into their motel at 6:15 a.m. and roused the clerk, white, who wiped his face and said, "I'm glad you guys finally made it. I was getting worried about you."
Haynes smiled. "I was getting worried about us, too," he said.
One by one, the Magicians stepped off the bus behind Haynes as Smith unloaded the bags. There were Steve Washington and Paul Merrifield, Larry Coleman and Mike Hammond and Chuck Barnett, Davis and Willis. Davis has a bum wheel and was only around to help out temporarily. Of the others, only Willis sees himself playing for a lifetime. "I'll do this until I'm 100 years old if I can," he says. "I like to make people laugh." The others, hired by Haynes along the way, are in it season by season at most, with no long-term commitments.
That night the Magicians played Chamblee, before 280 people in the high school gym, but Haynes kept himself out of the lineup again, nursing that groin pull. The next day Joan Haynes flew in to join him from their home in Oklahoma. When she isn't modeling, she's running their company, Hayneco, Inc., which makes air-filtration bags. Haynes invested heavily in the clothing business several years ago, but a recession sank that.
After a day's layover in Georgia, Haynes & Co. doubled back into South Carolina, first to the U.S. Marine base at Parris Island, then on to the hamlet of Walterboro. Haynes was playing again, and in Walterboro he put on a show. He sank five straight two-handed set shots from 30 feet, swishers that had the 257 spectators howling. He also dazzled them with behind-the-back passes and dribbled out the final minute of the first quarter as opponents swiped weakly at the ball.
The Magicians chanted as he went into his routine, dribbling the ball between his legs. Down on one knee, he switched hands, swung around, then dropped flat on his side to the floor, bouncing the ball in front of him. Up again, he swept to the top of the key. Flipping the ball behind his back, he swung for the basket and scored a layup as the crowd cheered lustily.
It was late again, and the players were asleep as the bus headed north to Clinton. Marques was driving again, laughing once more at thoughts of Goose. Haynes has never made more money in the game than he did in the two years from 1955 to '57, when he owned the Magicians in partnership with Tatum. He made a good salary when he rejoined the Globies in 1972. But he and Tatum had the Midas touch, grossing $700,000 the first year and more the second. Tatum dissolved the partnership to go on his own, but several years later they were talking about getting the old act back together.
By then, Tatum had spent time in jail for income tax evasion, and he was sick when Haynes last spoke to him on the telephone in January 1967. They promised to speak again when Tatum was feeling better. A week later, while Haynes was driving through California with his brother Joe and Grider, they were listening to the radio. "We heard that Barney Ross, the prizefighter, and Goose Tatum had died," says Haynes.
Tatum's funeral was as singular as the man himself. The burial was set for 10 o'clock on a Friday morning at the military cemetery at Fort Bliss, Texas, and Haynes headed there from California, picking up his first wife, Marquetta, from whom he was divorced in 1970, on the way. They drove out to the cemetery. No funeral, no Goose. A group of gravediggers, milling around, told them that Tatum had been buried without ceremony an hour earlier.
"Did they say a prayer or read Scripture?" Haynes asked.