By Jon Weisman
… It’s 1946 and Haynes, a Sand Springs native, is a senior at Langston University. He’s playing in the championship game of a national tournament and he’s got a bone to pick with the opponent, Southern University.
Southern routed Sam Houston earlier in the tournament and was less than polite about it, going into showtime mode once the outcome had been decided.
“It didn’t sit too well with me,” Haynes said.
Haynes felt sorry not only for the humiliated players, but also for a Sam Houston assistant coach he had just met. The coach’s name — he gained fame in a different sport — was Jackie Robinson.
Haynes intended to give Southern’s hot dogs a taste of their own mustard. One problem: Langston coach Zip Gayles despised show-off tactics.
Blessed with a comfortable lead, and with only a couple of minutes left on the clock, Haynes decided to risk Gayles’ wrath.
“I started putting my dribbling act on and the crowd got very noisy,” Haynes said. “I looked up and the referees weren’t calling any fouls. Guys were trying to trip me and grab my arms, but the referees’ whistles were down. They were laughing. They were getting a big kick out of it. But at the same time, one of my teammates was telling me Zip was after me.” …
I don’t really hear much about the Globetrotters these days, but Haynes, Meadowlark Lemon, Geese Ausbie and Curly Neal were big names for me as a kid, maybe as big as anybody not on the Lakers. Back then, the Globetrotters were a big attraction on ABC’s “Wide World of Sports,” and I was as exposed to them as any other group of hoopsters. The one time I was taken to see them play in person at the Forum, it was a big deal.
Anyway, it’s just a moment, but one I thought worth sharing.