Bob Karstens, the third white player for the Harlem Globetrotters and the only one under a contract, who created many of their signature routines such as the pregame "Magic Circle," has died. He was 89.
Karstens died Dec. 31 in Redlands of natural causes, the team announced.
Other routines credited to Karstens include the team's behind-the-back backhand shot; the "yo-yo" basketball; and the "goofball," a basketball filled with weights that made it bounce erratically.
Born in Davenport, Iowa, Karstens started playing basketball at the age of 6 and became a star player for the Iowa Central Turner Gym and St. Ambrose College in Davenport.
Abe Saperstein, founder of the Globetrotters and one of the other original white players, along with Buddy Levitt, saw Karstens play when the Globetrotters were matched against the Turner Gym team in Iowa. When Reece "Goose" Tatum was drafted into the Army Air Forces in 1942, Saperstein asked Karstens to step in as the team's designated showman.