Curly Neal Dies: Harlem Globetrotters Super Dribbler And TV Star Was 77
Fred “Curly” Neal, the Harlem Globetrotters guard whose dazzling dribbling and penchant for half-court photographs entertained a number of generations of basketball followers, has died. He handed on Thursday at his dwelling close to Houston at age 77, the Globetrotters introduced. No trigger was given.
Neal’s shaved head and basketball excellence made him one of many faces of the Globetrotters, a touring exhibition crew recognized for mixing comedy in with its excellent basketball expertise. Neal, who gained the nickname “Curly” upon becoming a member of the crew, was a part of greater than 6,000 video games in his profession spanning 1963 to 1985 for the Globetrotters.
The crew’s antics spotlighted Neal’s immense abilities, notably on a set piece by which he would dribble round a hapless defender, dropping to his knees and passing the ball earlier than reclaiming it and resuming the cat and mouse recreation. It often ended by Neal throwing himself a bounce go by the defender’s legs for a layup.
Neal was additionally a frequent participant within the notorious “water bucket” prank, by which he washed out a teammate with a cup of water, solely to be chased across the court docket by the “offended” participant, culminating in a confetti bathe on somebody within the viewers.
The bits and the basketball expertise displayed at a time when the NBA wasn’t a daily TV attraction made the Globetrotters a staple of ABC’s Extensive World of Sports activities reveals on weekends within the 1960s and 1970s. These appearances additionally spawned an animated Globetrotters present and quite a few visitor star appearances. Neal himself appeared on Superboy, The Love Boat, a Gilligan’s Island TV film, and The White Shadow, amongst different reveals. The animated Neal even teamed with Scooby-Doo in a collection.
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“His basketball talent was unmatched by most, and his heat coronary heart and large smile introduced pleasure to households worldwide,” Jeff Munn, the Globetrotters’ normal supervisor, stated in a press release on Thursday. “He all the time made time for his many followers and impressed thousands and thousands.”
Frederick Neal was born on Could 19, 1942, in Greensboro, N.C., and performed at Johnson C. Smith College in Charlotte, incomes All-Central Intercollegiate Athletic Affiliation honors. Regardless of his expertise, he went undrafted and couldn’t latch on with an NBA crew, a lot to his disappointment.
A chance with the Globetrotters emerged, and Neal was chosen to succeed Marques Haynes because the crew’s ballhandler-in-chief. In 2008, the Globetrotters retired Neal’s No. 22 at a Madison Sq. Backyard ceremony.