Globetrotters great 'Curly' Neal dies

Fred “Curly” Neal (Getty Images)
Fred “Curly” Neal (Getty Images)

Fred “Curly” Neal, whose trademark shaved head and dazzling dribbling skills delighted audiences of the Harlem Globetrotters, died on Thursday at the age of 77.

Neal died at his home near Houston, according to an announcement on the official webpage of the exhibition team, which brought basketball to a global audience with its entertaining blend of comedy and athletic skill.

"It was Curly's magical ball-handling, shooting, charismatic smile and iconic bald head in more than 6 000 games in 97 countries, that made them start to play and fall in love with the game," the Globetrotters said of Neal, who played for the Globetrotters from 1963-1985.

"One of the truly magical dribblers and shooters in basketball history, Neal fittingly played for 22 seasons in the red, white and blue, wearing No 22."

"We have lost one of the most genuine human beings the world has ever known," Globetrotters general manager Jeff Munn said.

"Curly’s basketball skill was unrivalled by most, and his warm heart and huge smile brought joy to families worldwide."

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
What is your favourite sport to watch on TV?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Rugby
41% - 11385 votes
Cricket
12% - 3282 votes
Football
19% - 5134 votes
Athletics
2% - 686 votes
Boxing
1% - 268 votes
Cycling
2% - 638 votes
Golf
5% - 1409 votes
Motorsport
8% - 2329 votes
Tennis
3% - 921 votes
Water sports
1% - 245 votes
American sports
1% - 335 votes
MMA / WWE / UFC
3% - 894 votes
Vote