Fred “Curly” Neal, the dribbling wizard who entertained thousands and thousands with the Harlem Globetrotters for parts of 3 decades, has died. He was 77.
The Globetrotters mentioned Neal died in his residence outside the house of Houston on Thursday morning.
“We have misplaced a person of the most legitimate human beings the entire world has ever regarded,” Globetrotters basic manager Jeff Munn said in a statement on Twitter. “Curly’s basketball skill was unequalled by most, and his warm coronary heart and massive smile brought pleasure to families throughout the world.”
Neal performed for the Globetrotters from 1963-85, showing up in far more than 6,000 games in 97 nations for the exhibition group regarded for its blend of comedy and athleticism. He became a single of five Globetrotters to have his jersey retired when his No. 22 was lifted to the rafters in the course of a particular ceremony at Madison Square Yard in 2008.
Neal was a crowd most loved with his trademark shaved head, infectious smile and capability to dribble circles about would-be defenders. He was a vital participant through the Globetrotters’ most popular era in the ’70s and ’80s, appearing on Tv set demonstrates and specials like “The Ed Sullivan Demonstrate,” “Love Boat” and “Gilligan’s Island.”
Neal and the Globetrotters also appeared in several Tv set commercials, episodes of “Scooby-Doo” and experienced their have cartoon sequence.
Neal was a star superior faculty participant in Greensboro, North Carolina, and led Johnson C. Smith College in Charlotte to the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Affiliation title just after averaging 23 factors for each sport as a senior. He was inducted into the North Carolina Sporting activities Corridor of Fame in a 2008 course that incorporated North Carolina mentor Roy Williams.
Neal also was inducted into the Globetrotters’ Legends ring in 1993 and ongoing to make appearances for them as an “Ambassador of Goodwill.”