|Former JCSU and Globetrotters great Curly Neal dies at 77|
|All-CIAA guard was master showman|
|Published Thursday, March 26, 2020 6:00 pm|
|Fred "Curly" Neal, a 1975 Johnson C. Smith University graduate and former Harlem Globetrotter, died Thursday in Houston, Texas at age 77.|
Before he was “Curly” the Harlem Globetrotter, Fred Neal was “Scrip,” Johnson C. Smith’s all-CIAA basketball point guard.
Mr. Neal, one of the most famous Harlem Globetrotters and the most famous JCSU alumnus ever, died Thursday in Houston, Texas at age 77. The Greensboro native was a star with the Golden Bulls from 1959-63 who went on to fame as the Globetrotters’ master ballhandler and showman over a 22-year career. Mr. Neal, who earned his degree in 1975, was the face of the traveling basketball troupe along with sidekick Meadowlark Lemon, a Wilmington native and a Florida A&M alumnus.
“Curly Neal is an important part of Johnson C. Smith University's basketball history and the history of black college basketball,” said Steve Joyner, a 1973 JCSU graduate and the school’s athletics director and basketball coach. “His work as a global superstar and ambassador, even after his retirement from the Harlem Globetrotters, is proof that sports unite people and demonstrate the power of teamwork. Curly was one of the greatest ambassadors for Johnson C. Smith University, holding high the Gold and Blue around the world.”
Mr. Neal, who played in more than 6,000 games in 97 countries with the Globetrotters from 1963-1985, was set new standards with his dribbling prowess as well as shooting accuracy. As a collegian, Mr. Neal averaged 23.1 points per game at JCSU, where his jersey number, 22, hangs from the Brayboy Gym rafters. He was inducted to the CIAA Hall of Fame in 1986, the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame in 2008, and the Globetrotters presented him with the team’s “Legends” ring in 1993 and retired his jersey number in 2008.
“Like millions of people around the world, I remember being in awe of Curly's skills on the basketball court and the joy I felt watching him and the other Globetrotters as they entertained us,” JCSU President Clarence Armbrister said in a statement. "His talents as a Harlem Globetrotter, and most importantly as a Golden Bull, will forever be remembered.”
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|I played basketball with Curly Neal on the playground at Windsor Community Center and James B. Dudley H.S.,Greensboro, North Carolina. |
He was better known as "Scrip" or "Freddie back in the days. His head was bald and his smile was an ever reminder of the goodness and kindness to everyone he met.
Curly Neal was the first player to perfect that crossover dribble through hours of practice while at Dudley. I was one of his victims,lol.
R.I.P. my brother, you were obedient to God's call. We will mourn your passing for a moment but rejoice forever for the human goodness that you instilled in so many lives.
|Posted on March 27, 2020|
|A world ambassador at the highest degree" he had as many tricks as Felix the cat . Well done while you were here curly , now go entertain the angels.|
|Posted on March 27, 2020|
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