Fred “Curly” Neal, the slick-dribbling face of the Harlem Globetrotters for 22 years, has died at the age of 77, Johnson C. Smith University announced Thursday.
Neal, with his recognizable shaved head and playful banter, in 2008 became just the fifth Globetrotters player to have his jersey retired, joining Wilt Chamberlain, Marques Haynes, Meadowlark Lemon and Goose Tatum.
His jersey was raised to the rafters of Madison Square Garden during a special ceremony.
Neal played in more than 6,000 games in 97 countries for the barnstorming Globetrotters from 1963 to 1985.
He joined the Globetrotters after averaging more than 23 points per game during his senior year while leading Johnson C. Smith University to the CIAA title.