Off Topic – Tribute to the Life and Memory of Fred Curly Neal


Written by Nathan Wertheimer

Fred Curly Neal died on Thursday, March 26, 2020, at his home in outside Houston, Texas, and he was 77 years old. His family did not disclosed what he died from. Neal was full of life and it truly showed. Most people will remember him as a professional basketball player and a great entertainer. Neal is survived by his two daughters Raquel and Laverne along with six grandchildren.

I am writing this article to extend my heart felt loss to the Central Florida community and to the Harlem Globetrotter family. He was born in 1942 in Greensboro, North Carolina. Neal graduated from Dudley High School in Greensboro, North Carolina. After high school, he attended and graduated Johnson C. Smith College in Charlotte, North Carolina. In college, he averaged 23.1 points a game and was named the All-Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) guard.

Right after college, he worked for the Harley Globetrotters from 1963-1985. Basketball was always a huge part of his life. He loved to travel and entertain the world. When Neal was playing in the basketball game he was a point guard and wore the number 22. His number has since been retired from the Harlem Globetrotters. Neal appeared in over 6,000 games in 97 countries during his career.

During the off-season from basketball, he worked on many projects on animated series and television shows. He was a famous person many people know. Some of these shows with Neal can be seen if you conduct a search on the Internet.

After retirement, he settled down in Longwood, Florida in the late 1980’s. One could always see him in the community. He lived like a normal person. Several times, I had seen him at the local grocery store picking up a few items. With that smile and baldhead, you always knew who he was and gave everyone high fives.

What many people don’t know that Neal was the first Orlando Magic Ambassador for the team. He was always wearing seen anything Orlando Magic team items. Even his black Mercedes convertible car had a Magic logo plate on the front and a State of Florida Orlando Magic vanity tag on the back of the vehicle. He was the number one Orlando Magic fan.

His legacy will live on. One can’t say enough good things about Neal. For more information about his life please visit

Curly NealPhoto and graphics courtesy by Orlando Magic

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Source of information from first hand experience, Wikipedia, Orlando Magic, Harlem Globetrotters



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