Curly Neal, Globetrotters’ Dazzling Dribbler, Dies at 77
Fred “Curly” Neal, whose dribbling wizardry made him one of the most well-known members
of the beloved Harlem Globetrotters traveling basketball team, died on Thursday at his home
near Houston. He was 77.
The team announced the death but gave no other details.
Nicknamed “Curly” upon joining the Globetrotters in a humorous nod to his shaved head, Neal
played in more than 6,000 exhibition games for the Globetrotters from 1963 to 1985, mostly
against the Washington Generals, their hapless foils.
In one of the most highly anticipated elements of the Globetrotters’ routine, Neal would dribble
all over the court, frequently sliding on his knees, never losing control of the ball no matter how
close to the hardwood he had lowered himself. Then he would bounce the ball through a flailing
defender’s legs near the free-throw line and dribble in for an uncontested layup to finish off the