Curly Neal 1942-2020 Basketball as Jazz

Basketball transmogrified into athletic entertainment with Abe Saperstein’s Harlem Globetrotters. ABC’s Wide World of Sports brought Globetrotter basketball shows into American living rooms in the 70s and 80s. Curly Neal’s smile and dribbling exhibitions, Meadowlark Lemon’s hamming in the high post, and the half-choreographed, high-energy shows turned the athleticism and grace of basketball into stage comedy. Curly Neal was the prince of the court.


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