Curly attended Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina.
He played with the Harlem Globetrotters between 1963 and 1985 in more than 6,000 games in 97 countries. While playing for the Harlem Globetrotters he wore the number "22", which matched the number of years he played. On Feb. 15, 2008, Neal became just the fifth Globetrotter in the team's illustrious history to have his jersey number retired, joining Wilt Chamberlain, Marques Haynes, Meadowlark Lemon and Goose Tatum. Neal's famous number 22 was lifted to the rafters during a special ceremony at New York's Madison Square Garden. Since then, there have been a total of eight numbers retired.
Neal, who would have turned 78 on May 19, was also a recipient of the Harlem Globetrotters' prestigious “Legends” ring, presented to those who have made a major contribution to the success and the development of the Globetrotters organization. Each honoree exemplifies the Harlem Globetrotters’ humanitarian contributions and it’s the second highest honor a former player can receive outside of jersey retirement.
↑ "North Carolina, Department of Archives and History, Index to Vital Records, 1800-2000," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:7XP2-43MM : 25 October 2019), Frederic D Neal, 19 May 1942; citing Birth, North Carolina, United States, North Carolina State Archives, Division of Archives and History, Raleigh; FHL microfilm 102175421.
↑ "North Carolina Birth Index, 1800-2000," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VHLP-414 : 8 December 2014), Frederic D Neal, 19 May 1942; from "North Carolina, Birth and Death Indexes, 1800-2000," database and images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : 2005); citing vol. 81, p. 660, Guilford, North Carolina, North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh.