Former Harlem Globetrotter Fred “Curly” Neal died at age 77 at his house in Houston, Texas, the exhibition basketball workforce introduced Thursday.
Neal’s awe-inspiring ball dealing with and mythical taking pictures talents saved him as one of the vital Globetrotters’ featured gamers for 22 seasons, ahead of he left the workforce in 1985. His bald head earned him the nickname “Curly,” a connection with hairless 3 Stooges member Curly Howard.
Globetrotters Basic Supervisor Jeff Munn stated in a observation Thursday that the group has misplaced “one of the authentic human beings the arena has ever identified.”
“His basketball ability used to be unmatched by means of maximum, and his heat middle and large smile introduced pleasure to households international,” Munn stated. “He at all times made time for his many enthusiasts and impressed thousands and thousands.”
Neal’s quantity, 22, used to be retired in 2008 and his jersey used to be lifted into the rafters at Madison Sq. Lawn in New York Town. He used to be venerated with a “Legends” ring, given to people who have made a big contribution to the improvement of the Globetrotters group.
A local of Greensboro, North Carolina, Neal performed faculty ball at Johnson C. Smith College in Charlotte and used to be ultimately inducted into the North Carolina’s Sports activities Corridor of Reputation.
Neal additionally loved a tv profession, taking part in himself in various methods and specials. Neal made appearances on “The Love Boat,” “The White Shadow” and “The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan‘s Island” tv film.
He additionally did voice paintings in episodes of Hanna Barbera’s “Scooby-Doo” caricature, helping the group in fixing mysteries, and within the Globetrotters’ personal animated collection.
Former Globetrotter Curley “Boo” Johnson, who joined the workforce after Neal’s departure, mourned the legend’s loss in a statement Thursday on Twitter.
“Final night time the International misplaced a real ambassador of the sport of basketball and outdoor of Muhammad Ali one of the recognizable faces at the Planet!” Johnson wrote.
CORRECTION (March 26, 2020, 6:45 p.m. ET): An previous model of this text misstated the place Fred “Curly” Neal attended faculty. He went to Johnson C. Smith College in Charlotte, North Carolina, now not the College of Charlotte.