Harlem Globetrotters ball wizard magician Fred "Curly,quot; Neal dies at 77 – Up News Info San Francisco

<pre><pre>Harlem Globetrotters ball wizard magician Fred "Curly" Neal dies at 77 - CBS San Francisco

HOUSTON (Up News Info Sports) – On Thursday, the great Fred "Curly,quot; Neal of the Harlem Globetrotters died at his home in the Houston area at the age of 77. Neal starred in the legendary traveling basketball showcase from 1963 to 1985 and was known for his shaved head and dribbling skills.

Curly Neal of the Harlem Globetrotters photographed at halftime in a 2008 Phoenix Suns game. (AP Photo / Ross D. Franklin)

"We have lost one of the most genuine human beings the world has ever known," Globetrotters general manager Jeff Munn said in a press release. “Most of his basketball skills were unrivaled, and his warm heart and huge smile made families around the world happy. He always made time for his many fans and inspired millions. "

Before the sport of basketball was accessible to fans around the world, Neal and the Harlem Globetrotters trotted around the world, introducing the sport to many young fans. Neal was famous for his big smile and his dribble was one of the best basketball world has ever seen. Neal absolutely dazzled fans with his spectacular shooting ability, in addition to his tremendous ball handling abilities.

Neal played over 6,000 games for the Harlem Globetrotters and traveled to 97 countries during his 22-year career.

On February 15, 2008, Neal became the fifth Harlem Globetrotter to have his number withdrawn, joining Wilt Chamberlain, Marques Haynes, Meadowlark Lemon, and Goose Tatum. Its number 22 was elevated to the beams of Madison Square Garden.

Prior to his tenure with the Globetrotters, Neal starred at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he averaged 23 points. Additionally, Neal led his team to a CIAA senior title. For his stellar college career, the Globetrotters star was inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame in 2008.

Neal also appeared on a number of television shows, including "Up News Info Sports Spectacular," ABC's "Wide World of Sports," "The Ed Sullivan Show,quot; and "The Love Boat."

Neal's funeral services are currently pending, according to the press release.

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