01/09/1989 at 01:00 AM EST
Want to watch professional juggler Bob Nickerson at work? Just follow the bouncing balls. In the spirit of showmanship, Nickerson, 45, bills himself as the "world's greatest basketball dribbler" and is certainly the most prolific. He has a repertoire of 83 tricks while dribbling three basketballs simultaneously and 13 tricks while dribbling four. "When it works, it feels like nothing else on earth," Nickerson says. "Your hands become automatic and you get lost in the beat."
Nickerson, a former Marine, started juggling and dribbling 12 years ago to develop eye-hand coordination for martial arts and to stimulate his 3-year-old daughter, Cassandra, who has Down syndrome. He and his wife, Carolyn, a former Navy nurse, live with their three daughters in a mobile home on 25 wooded acres in Asheville, Pa. But Dr. Dribble, as he calls himself, spends about 200 days a year on the road. He has performed at the White House, the Basketball Hall of Fame and Madison Square Garden, as well as at innumerable festivals honoring various crops. ("You name it, and there's a festival for it," he says.) He's no Globetrotter though. "I'm short and fat," he admits, sweat dripping off his nose. "This would be easier if only my arms were six inches longer."