'Curly' Neal of Harlem Globetrotters dies at 77

The sports world is mourning the loss of Fred Curly Neal

The sports world is mourning the loss of Fred Curly Neal Greensboro Daily

UPDATE: The Harlem Globetrotters pay tribute to Fred "Curly" Neal in the tweet below.

On March 26, the sports world learned that Fred "Curly" Neal, Harlem Globetrotter legend, passed away.

His ball-handling displays, shooting touch and infectious smile were mainstays at Globetrotters games as they entertained fans around the world in basketball exhibitions.

Known for his shaved head and dribbling wizardry, Neal played in more than 6,000 games in 97 countries for the Globetrotters from 1963 to 1985.

Neal made it look easy to literally dribble circles around an opposing team. Neal was a member of the popular Harlem Globetrotters troupe and one of its most recognizable members.

The Globetrotters confirmed that he died in his home outside of Houston early Thursday.

Neal was a star high school player in Greensboro, North Carolina, and led Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte to the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association title after averaging 23 points per game as a senior. "His basketball skill was unrivaled by most, and his warm heart and huge smile brought joy to families worldwide", said the team's general manager.

The Globetrotters retired Neal's #22 jersey at a February 2008 ceremony at New York's Madison Square Garden, becoming just the fifth Globetrotter to have their numbers retired.

Our thoughts go out to the Globetrotters family and the entire basketball world during these most hard of times.

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