Harlem Globetrotters icon Fred 'Curly' Neal dies at 77 years old

Ruben Hill
March 27, 2020

UPDATE: The Harlem Globetrotters pay tribute to Fred "Curly" Neal in the tweet below.

Fred "Curly" Neal, the dribbling wizard who entertained millions with the Harlem Globetrotters for parts of three decades, has died at age 77 at his home in Houston.

"We have lost one of the most genuine human beings the world has ever known", said Globetrotters General Manager Jeff Munn in a statement on the team's website.

The team notes that because Neal and the team were playing before the advent of cable television and traveled so widely, they introduced huge numbers of people to pro basketball for the first time. His charisma made Neal one of the most beloved members of the team, tied only with Meadowlark Lemon. Neal toured with the Globetrotters from 1963 to 1985 and appeared in over 6,000 games and more than 95 countries.

Neal was known for his bald head, smile and fancy ballhandling skills.

A fan favorite, Neal's likeness was featured in multiple children's cartoons including "Harlem Globetrotters", "The Super Globetrotters" and "The New Scooby-Doo Movies".

He joined the Globetrotters after averaging more than 23 points per game during his senior year while leading Johnson C. Smith University to the CIAA title.

Neal also was inducted into the Globetrotters' Legends ring in 1993 and continued to make appearances for them as an "Ambassador of Goodwill".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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