NEW YORK — Fred “Curly” Neal, the dribbling wizard who entertained millions with the Harlem Globetrotters for sections of three many years, has died. He was 77.
The Globetrotters mentioned Neal died in his dwelling outside of Houston on Thursday early morning.
“We have missing just one of the most real human beings the earth has ever regarded,” Globetrotters standard manager Jeff Munn said in a statement on Twitter. “Curly’s basketball ability was unmatched by most, and his heat coronary heart and substantial smile brought joy to family members around the globe.”
Neal performed for the Globetrotters from 1963-85, appearing in far more than 6,000 online games in 97 international locations for the exhibition team identified for its combination of comedy and athleticism. He became just one of 5 Globetrotters to have his jersey retired when his No. 22 was lifted to the rafters through a specific ceremony at Madison Square Yard in 2008.
Neal was a group beloved with his trademark shaved head, infectious smile and ability to dribble circles about would-be defenders. He was a vital participant through the Globetrotters’ most well-liked era in the ‘70s and ’80s, showing on Television set reveals and specials like “The Ed Sullivan Present,” “Love Boat” and “Gilligan’s Island.”
Neal and the Globetrotters also appeared in several Television set commercials, episodes of “Scooby-Doo” and had their own cartoon sequence.
“Hard to categorical how considerably joy Curly Neal brought to my lifetime increasing up. RIP to a legend,” Golden Condition Warriors coach Steve Kerr tweeted.
Neal was a star large school player in Greensboro, North Carolina, and led Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte to the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association title just after averaging 23 details for every activity as a senior. He was inducted into the North Carolina Sports Corridor of Fame in a 2008 course that involved North Carolina mentor Roy Williams.
Neal also was inducted into the Globetrotters’ Legends ring in 1993 and continued to make appearances for them as an “Ambassador of Goodwill.”