Harlem Globetrotters legend Fred “Curly” Neal died on Wednesday at his house in Houston, Texas.

Former Globetrotters proprietor Mannie Jackson confirmed his demise to The Undefeated. From 1963-85, Neal performed in additional than 6,000 video games throughout 97 international locations, based on the workforce’s web site.

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Earlier than the Web and cable tv actually existed, Neal and the Globetrotters launched the game of basketball to tens of millions of sports activities fan throughout the globe. Curly was recognized for his spectacular taking pictures, ball-handling expertise, his smile and iconic bald head.

Neal wore No. 22 whereas enjoying 22 seasons for the crimson, white and blue.

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“We’ve got misplaced one of the crucial real human beings the world has ever recognized,” mentioned Globetrotters normal supervisor Jeff Munn in a press release. “His basketball ability was unequalled by most, and his heat coronary heart and big smile introduced pleasure to households worldwide. He at all times made time for his many followers and impressed tens of millions.”

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Neal’s No. 22 jersey was retired by the Globetrotters in 2008. He was simply the fifth Globetrotter to have his jersey quantity retired, becoming a member of Wilt Chamberlain, Marques Haynes, Meadowlark Lemon and Goose Tatum. Up to now, there have been eight numbers retired.