The legend had spent 22 years with the Globetrotters.
Fred 'Curly' Neal was one of the household names of his time and probably one of the most famous Globetrotter to have graced the game. Born on May 19, 1942, in Greensboro, NC, he spent 22 seasons with the Globetrotters from 1963 through 1985. He had played more than 6,000 games in his career and was as epic a personality on the court as he was off it.
The Globetrotters said in a statement: "We have lost one of the most genuine human beings the world has ever known." The statement added: "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."
Harlem Globetrotters were one of the first all-black basketball teams to have played and despite numerous social hurdles, they were always welcome on the court. They paved the way for multiple generations of basketball players to fall in love with the game and to play it themselves. And Fred was an integral part of their team.
His death comes filled with sadness for every fan, friends, and family who will feel his loss deeply in their lives. His number 22 jersey has been retired. May the legend rest in peace.