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American basketball player, Fred "Curly" Neal was born on May 19, 1941 in Greensboro, North Carolina. Curly Neal is best known for his career with the Harlem Globetrotters. Following in the footsteps of the great Marques Haynes, Neal became the Trotters' feature ballhandler, a key role in the team's exhibition act.
Curly Neal attended Greensboro-Dudley High School, a perennial power in the state. He was followed shortly there by future Atlanta Hawks All-Star Lou Hudson, and NFL Hall of Fame tight end Charlie Sanders (who played on the basketball team). Unlike Hudson and Sanders, who matriculated at the University of Minnesota, Neal went to Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina. At Smith, he averaged 23.1 points a game, and was named All-CIAA guard in a very competitive conference that produced players such as Al Attles, Jumpin' Jackie Jackson, and Earl Monroe.
Neal played over 6,000 games from 1963 to 1985. His shaved his head earned himself the nickname "Curly", a reference to Three Stooges' Curly Howard, and made him one of the most recognizable Globetrotters.
On January 11, 2008, the Globetrotters announced that Neal's number 22 would be retired on February 15 in a special ceremony at Madison Square Garden as part of "Curly Neal Weekend".
On January 31, 2008, it was announced that Neal would be inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame.