Earl Monroe

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Earl Monroe
EarlthePearlatBarnes&Noble.JPG
No. 33, 10, 15
Guard
Personal information
Born (1944-11-21) November 21, 1944 (age 69)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Nationality American
Listed height 6 ft 3 in (191 cm)
Listed weight 185 lb (84 kg)
Career information
High school John Bartram
(Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
College Winston-Salem State (1963–1967)
NBA draft 1967 / Round: 1 / Pick: 2nd overall
Selected by the Baltimore Bullets
Pro playing career 1967–1980
Career history
19671972 Baltimore Bullets
19711980 New York Knicks
Career highlights and awards
Career statistics
Points 17,454 (18.8 ppg)
Rebounds 2,796 (3.0 rpg)
Assists 3,594 (3.9 apg)
Stats at Basketball-Reference.com
Basketball Hall of Fame as player

Vernon Earl "The Pearl" Monroe (born November 21, 1944) is an American former professional basketball player known for his flamboyant dribbling, passing, and play-making. He was nicknamed both "Earl the Pearl" and "Black Jesus".

Career[edit]

Early years[edit]

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Monroe was a playground legend from an early age. His high school teammates at John Bartram High School called him "Thomas Edison" because of the many moves he invented.

Monroe rose to prominence at a national level while playing basketball at then Division II Winston-Salem State University, located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Under Hall of Fame coach Clarence "Big House" Gaines, Monroe averaged 7.1 points his freshman year, 23.2 points as a sophomore, 29.8 points as a junior and an amazing 41.5 points his senior year. In 1967, he earned NCAA College Division Player of the Year honors and led the Rams to the NCAA College Division Championship.

Baltimore Bullets[edit]

In 1967, the two-time All-American was drafted by the Baltimore Bullets (now the Washington Wizards) in the first round of the NBA draft (second overall pick). He won the NBA Rookie of the Year Award in a season in which he averaged 24.3 points per game, and scored 56 points in a game against the Los Angeles Lakers. This still stands as the third-highest rookie total in NBA history. It was also a franchise record, later broken by Gilbert Arenas on December 17, 2006.

He and teammate Wes Unseld quickly became a formidable combination in Baltimore, and Monroe became a cult hero for his ability to run the fast break and for his circus-like shots. He said, "The thing is, I don't know what I'm going to do with the ball, and if I don't know, I'm quite sure the guy guarding me doesn't know either."[1] On February 6, 1970, he set an NBA record with 13 points in one overtime in a double-overtime victory over the Detroit Pistons (another mark since surpassed by Arenas).

After the 1970–1971 season, Monroe's agent Larry Fleischer told the Bullets of Monroe's wishes to be traded to the Lakers, Bulls or Sixers. After four games into the 1971–1972 season, he traveled to Indianapolis to discuss a transfer to the American Basketball Association's Indiana Pacers.[2] He was then traded to the New York Knicks later in the season.

On December 1, 2007 the Washington Wizards retired Monroe's number 10 jersey.

New York Knicks[edit]

In 1971, Monroe was traded to the New York Knicks and formed what was known as the "Rolls Royce Backcourt" with the equally flamboyant Walt Frazier. While there were initial questions as to whether Monroe and Frazier could coexist as teammates, the duo eventually meshed to become one of the most effective guard combinations of all time, leading the Knicks to the 1973 NBA championship. That pairing is one of few backcourts ever to feature two Hall of Famers and NBA 50th Anniversary Team members.

A four-time NBA All-Star, Monroe retired after the 1980 season due to serious knee injuries, which had plagued him throughout his career. He had played 926 NBA career games, scored 17,454 total points (18.8 ppg) and dished out 3,594 assists. Monroe had his number 15 jersey retired by the Knicks on March 1, 1986.

Even Monroe admits that his flowing, fluid, silky-smooth on-court style of play was unique. He has said: "You know, I watch the games and even now I never see anyone who reminds me of me, the way I played."[3]

NBA statistics[edit]

Regular season[edit]

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
1967–68 Baltimore 82 36.7 .453 .781 5.7 4.3 24.3
1968–69 Baltimore 80 38.4 .440 .768 3.5 4.9 25.8
1969–70 Baltimore 82 37.2 .446 .830 3.1 4.9 23.4
1970–71 Baltimore 81 35.1 .442 .802 2.6 4.4 21.4
1971–72 Baltimore 3 34.3 .406 .722 2.7 3.3 21.7
1971–72 New York 60 20.6 .436 .786 1.5 2.2 11.4
1972–73 New York 75 31.6 .488 .822 3.3 3.8 15.5
1973–74 New York 41 29.1 .468 .823 3.0 2.7 .8 .5 14.0
1974–75 New York 78 36.1 .457 .827 4.2 3.5 1.4 .4 20.9
1975–76 New York 76 38.0 .478 .787 3.6 4.0 1.5 .3 20.7
1976–77 New York 77 34.5 .517 .839 2.9 4.8 1.2 .3 19.9
1977–78 New York 76 31.2 .495 .832 2.4 4.8 .8 .3 17.8
1978–79 New York 64 21.8 .471 .838 1.2 3.0 .8 .1 12.3
1979–80 New York 51 12.4 .457 .875 .7 1.3 .4 .1 7.4
Career 926 32.0 .464 .807 3.0 3.9 1.0 .3 18.8
All-Star 4 3 21.3 .359 .706 3.0 2.8 .3 .0 10.0

Career highs[edit]

40 point games[edit]

Monroe might have had additional games of exactly 40 points during the 1967–68 and 1968–69 seasons.

Points Opponent Home/Away Date Minutes
played
FGM FGA FTM FTA Rebounds Assists
56 Los Angeles Lakers Home February 13, 1968 20 33 16 22
49 Detroit Pistons Home February 24, 1968 16 17 26
46 Philadelphia 76ers Home March 20, 1968 19 39 8
45 Philadelphia 76ers Home February 3, 1968 17 11
44 Cincinnati Royals Away February 17, 1968 16 12
42 San Francisco Warriors Away March 5, 1969 18 36 6
41 Milwaukee Bucks Away February 7, 1969 17 7
41 Chicago Bulls Away March 21, 1969 20 33 1 3
40 San Francisco Warriors Home March 21, 1970 13 14 14

Regular season[edit]

Stat High Opponent Date
Points 56 vs. Los Angeles Lakers February 13, 1968
Points, half (2nd) 37 vs. Los Angeles Lakers February 13, 1968
Points, overtime 13 vs. Detroit Pistons February 6, 1970
Field goal percentage
Field goals made 20 vs. Los Angeles Lakers February 13, 1968
Field goals made 20 at Chicago Bulls March 21, 1969
Field goal attempts 39 vs. Philadelphia 76ers March 20, 1968
Free throws made, none missed 14—14 vs. San Francisco Warriors March 21, 1970
Free throws made, one missed
Free throws made 17 vs. Detroit Pistons February 24, 1968
Free throw attempts 26 vs. Detroit Pistons February 24, 1968
Rebounds 17
Assists 13
Steals
Blocked shots
Minutes played

Playoffs[edit]

Stat High Opponent Date
Points 39 (2 OT) at New York Knicks March 26, 1970
Field goal percentage
Field goals made 14 (2 OT) at New York Knicks March 26, 1970
Field goals made 14 vs. New York Knicks March 31, 1970
Field goal attempts 35 vs. New York Knicks March 27, 1969
Free throws made, none missed
Free throws made, one missed
Free throws made 13
Free throw attempts 15
Rebounds 9
Assists 7
Steals
Blocked shots
Minutes played 54 (2 OT) at New York Knicks March 26, 1970

Legacy[edit]

Off the court[edit]

Monroe interacting with the public at Barnes & Noble book signing in New York.
  • In 2012 Earl Monroe launched a new candy company: NBA Candy Store: [1]
  • In recent years, he has been serving as a commentator for Madison Square Garden and as commissioner of the New Jersey Urban Development Corporation.
  • Monroe has also been active in various community affairs and programs, including the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Health, the Crown Heights Youth Collective, the Literary Assistance Fund and the Harlem Junior Tennis Program. He has received many honors for these "off-the-court" community activities, including the Harlem Professionals Inspirational Award, Most Outstanding Model for American Youth, the YMCA Citizenship Award and Big Apple Sportsman of the Year Award.
  • He also served as a spokesman for the American Heart Association, along with his former Knicks teammate Walt "Clyde" Frazier.
  • In October 2005, Monroe opened a restaurant in New York City, named "Earl Monroe's Restaurant & Pearl Club". However, Monroe has since revoked the licensing rights to his name and the restaurant is now called The River Room.[4]
  • Monroe, his brother and his sister all have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.[5]
  • Monroe is a spokesman for Merck's Journey for Control website, where he serves as a promoter of diabetes-friendly eating and "Diabetes Restaurant Month!"[6]
  • Earl Monroe now owns and operates his own record label, Reverse Spin Records in New York, doing pop, dance, hip-hop and R&B music, currently with pop/dance artist Ciara Corr.[7][8]
  • In the Spike Lee film He Got Game, Jake Shuttlesworth (Denzel Washington) explains to his son, Jesus Shuttlesworth (Ray Allen), that his name was inspired by Monroe's nickname: "Jesus".
  • Monroe has one son, Rodney.
  • Monroe is also a member of Groove Phi Groove

Endorsements[edit]

From 1980 to 1981, Monroe had an endorsement deal with Jordache for a signature line of basketball sneakers that bore his nickname "Pearl" near the heel.[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Monroe's biography at". Nba.com. Retrieved 2011-10-04. 
  2. ^ Sheridan, Chris (2011-06-13). "For Monroe, ring not always the thing". ESPNNewYork.com. Retrieved 2011-10-04. 
  3. ^ Jacobson, Mark (2005-10-31). "Knicks Legend Earl the Pearl Monroe Ups the Ante on Jock Food". Nymag.com. Retrieved 2011-10-04. 
  4. ^ http://www.theriverroomofharlem.com/
  5. ^ "NBA Legends Frazier and Monroe Team up Once More to Educate". Diabeteshealth.com. Retrieved 2011-10-04. 
  6. ^ "Home Court of Diabetes Restaurant Month". Journeyforcontrol.com. Retrieved 2011-10-04. 
  7. ^ Klingaman, Mike (2009-10-06). "Catching Up With...former Bullet Earl Monroe". The Toy Department. The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 2011-10-04. 
  8. ^ "About". Reverse Spin Records. Retrieved 2011-10-04. 
  9. ^ "Jordache Earl “The Pearl” Monroe Sneaker 1980-1981 « DeFY. New York-Sneakers,Music,Fashion,Life". Defynewyork.com. 2011-09-29. Retrieved 2011-10-04. 

Monroe, Earl; Troupe, Quincy (2013). Earl The Pearl: My Story. 

External links[edit]