The series continues: No NBA for Herman Taylor

HOWIE EVANS AmNews Sports Editor | 7/20/2011, 5:11 p.m.

So now the bitterness spills out. Herman Taylor, the dapper-dressing Harlem Globetrotter, could play his butt off, as could the majority of the Trotters. But the real story is the short money, the endless games-sometimes as many as 300 a year-and often playing in front of crowds who saw them as nothing but clowns.

"Yeah! I did comedy," said Taylor. "Sometimes it was hard for me to laugh and make people happy. We would come off the floor at halftime and the real clowns would perform. They were all making more money than us. Everybody wanted us except the NBA. We were the attraction around the world. Race played a big factor. The jugglers at halftime even made more than us."

There were times when NBA teams shared the doubleheader bill with the Trotters. "Yeah! When I think about it, I get bitter because very few of those teams could beat us. I played with Wilt [Chamberlain] for the one year he played with us. He may have been making more than all of us combined." Chamberlain had left the University of Kansas and spent a year touring and playing with the Trotters.

"He could do almost anything on the court," recalled Herman. "He was a helluva player."

Herman, like Marquis Haynes, was the showman with the ball. "People always compared us. He was great, and he could dribble. So could Leon Hilliard, but when we played regular games, I would kill them. They didn't like players from New York.

"The absolute worst thing you could tell people on the road is you were from New York. It was like we had AIDS-a stigma. And it hasn't changed too much, even to this day," said Taylor. "Abe [Saperstein] had three teams, but everybody thought it was just one Globetrotter team." And Saperstein?

"We played 'The Steve Allen Show' on TV and Abe gave us $50 and told the manager to take us out for a steak dinner. He thought he was doing something good for us, but he got a lot of money for us doing the show and we got nothing," Taylor angrily said. "I was really mad about that, but there wasn't anything I could do about it. I still feel the bitterness to this day, the way we were treated." The NBA?

"Hardly any of us were accepted by the NBA back in the '50s and early '60s. We had no place to go other than...the Trotters." But then later came the time when the NBA called on Saperstein for help...