Fred "Curly" Neal was a dribbling wizard who entertained millions with the Harlem Globetrotters for parts of three decades. Officials with the Globetrotters have indicated that Neal died in his home outside of Houston that he shared with his fiance Linda Ware. The Trotters did not provide any other details. Neal played for the Globetrotters from 1963 to 1985. The flashy guard that was a crowd favorite, appeared in more than 6,000 games in 97 countries for the exhibition team known for its combination of comedy and athleticism.
The Johnson C. Smith University product became one of five Globetrotters to have his jersey retired when his No. 22 was lifted to the rafters during a ceremony at Madison Square Garden in New York City in 2008. Neal spent time working with the Orlando Magic as well during his career as a Community Ambassador for the Central Florida NBA franchise. Neal, a Greensboro native, was also a member of the North Carolina Sports Hall Of Fame. The Dudley High School (Greensboro, NC) graduate was inducted in 2008.
"Curly" Neal, father to two adult daughters, and a grandfather of six, was 77 years old.