Monroe in 2013
November 21, 1944 |
|Listed height||6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)|
|Listed weight||185 lb (84 kg)|
|High school||John Bartram
|College||Winston-Salem State (1963–1967)|
|NBA draft||1967 / Round: 1 / Pick: 2nd overall|
|Selected by the Baltimore Bullets|
|Position||Shooting guard / Point guard|
|Number||33, 10, 15|
|1971–1980||New York Knicks|
|Career highlights and awards|
|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|
|College Basketball Hall of Fame
Inducted in 2006
Vernon Earl Monroe (born November 21, 1944) is an American retired professional basketball player. He played for two teams, the Baltimore Bullets and the New York Knicks, during his career in the National Basketball Association (NBA). Both teams have retired Monroe's number. Due to his on-court success and flashy style-of-play, Monroe was given the nickname Earl "Black Jesus " - but to a legion of 60’s and 70’s basketball fans, he was simply “Earl the Pearl”.
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.
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. He scored 56 points in a game against the Los Angeles Lakers, 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." 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. 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
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."
NBA career statistics
|GP||Games played||GS||Games started||MPG||Minutes per game|
|FG%||Field goal percentage||3P%||3-point field goal percentage||FT%||Free throw percentage|
|RPG||Rebounds per game||APG||Assists per game||SPG||Steals per game|
|BPG||Blocks per game||PPG||Points per game||Bold||Career high|
|†||Denotes season in which Monroe won an NBA championship|
40 point games
|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||8|
|45||Philadelphia 76ers||Home||February 3, 1968||17||11||13|
|44||Cincinnati Royals||Away||February 17, 1968||16||12||16|
|42||San Francisco Warriors||Away||March 5, 1969||18||36||6||8|
|41||Milwaukee Bucks||Away||February 7, 1969||17||34||7||8|
|41||Chicago Bulls||Away||March 21, 1969||20||33||1||3|
|40||New York Knicks||Home||February 28, 1968||13||14||17|
|40||San Francisco Warriors||Home||March 21, 1970||13||14||14|
|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||17||vs. Detroit Pistons||February 24, 1968|
|Free throw attempts||26||vs. Detroit Pistons||February 24, 1968|
|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||13||vs. New York Knicks||April 18, 1971|
|Free throw attempts||15||vs. New York Knicks||April 18, 1971|
|Minutes played||54 (2 OT)||at New York Knicks||March 26, 1970|
- Monroe scored over 1,000 points in nine of his thirteen professional seasons (1968–71, 1973, 1975–78) including a career high 2,065 (25.8 points per game) in the 1968–69 season.
- In 1990, he was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
- Monroe was named one of the 50 players on the NBA 50th Anniversary All-Time Team in 1996.
- Monroe was chosen commissioner of the United States Basketball League in 1985.
- In 2005, an American Basketball Association team, the Baltimore Pearls, was named in honor of Earl Monroe.
Off the court
- In 2012 Earl Monroe launched a new candy company: NBA Candy Store: 
- 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.
- Monroe, his brother and his sister all have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
- 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!"
- 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.
- 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, and a daughter, Maya.
- Monroe is also a member of Groove Phi Groove
- "Monroe's biography at". Nba.com. Retrieved 2011-10-04.
- Sheridan, Chris (2011-06-13). "For Monroe, ring not always the thing". ESPNNewYork.com. Retrieved 2011-10-04.
- Jacobson, Mark (2005-10-31). "Knicks Legend Earl the Pearl Monroe Ups the Ante on Jock Food". Nymag.com. Retrieved 2011-10-04.
- "www.theriverroomofharlem.com is Expired or Suspended". www.theriverroomofharlem.com. Retrieved 16 March 2018.
- "NBA Legends Frazier and Monroe Team up Once More to Educate". Diabeteshealth.com. Archived from the original on 2008-07-25. Retrieved 2011-10-04.
- "Home Court of Diabetes Restaurant Month". Journeyforcontrol.com. Archived from the original on 2011-11-26. Retrieved 2011-10-04.
- Klingaman, Mike (2009-10-06). "Catching Up With...former Bullet Earl Monroe". The Baltimore Sun. The Toy Department. Retrieved 2011-10-04.
- "About". Reverse Spin Records. Archived from the original on 2011-08-26. Retrieved 2011-10-04.
- "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.