22 Years with Retired Jersey #22: Curly Neal

Five players have had their jersey number retired by the Harlem Globetrotters.

The legendary Curly Neal is one of those five.  Curly joined the Harlem Globetrotters in 1963 after an outstanding career at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina where he averaged over 23 points per game, and lead his team to the CIAA title his senior year.  His playing career with the Globetrotters spanned a total of 22 years, the same number he wore on the back of his jersey.  Over those 22 years, Curly traveled with the team to 97 countries and played in 6,000 games.

One of the most popular Globetrotters to ever play the game, Curly appeared on a number of television shows including “ABC's Wide World of Sports,” “The Harlem Globetrotters Popcorn Machine,” “The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan‘s Island,” “The Harlem Globetrotters” cartoon series and on episodes of “Scooby Doo.”  Curly received his Globetrotter "Legends" ring, an award presented to those who have made a major contribution to the team, June 25, 1993, and his #22 jersey was retired during a special ceremony at Madison Square Garden in New York on February 15, 2008.  

With his trademark shaved head and wide smile, Curly continues to make appearances as an "Ambassador of Goodwill"™ for the team to this day.  

-The Harlem Globetrotters

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