Smallthoughts: Old School Tuesday …Earl the Pearl Monroe


earl the Pearl the Bullet
Earl the Pearl Monroe

His high school teammates at John Bartram High School called him “Thomas Edison” because of the many moves he invented.He was nicknamed both “Earl the Pearl” and “Black Jesus”. He was and is beloved by Knick fans for his play. He toned down his game when he came to New York to be part of a team but make no mistake he was his on man and his own player who could would and did take over a game with his on brand of passing and shooting. Easily one of my favorite all time Knicks and one of the old school knicks that still gets huge ovations when seen at the Garden…Earl the Pearl Monroe.

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).
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.”

Smallthoughts: Old School Tuesday salutes one of its favorites …Earl the Pearl Monroe.

Selected by the Baltimore Bullets

Pro playing career

1967–1980

Career history

1967–1972

Baltimore Bullets

1971–1980

New York Knicks

Career highlights and awards

NBA champion (1973)
4× NBA All-Star (1969, 1971, 1975, 1977)
All-NBA First Team (1969)
NBA Rookie of the Year (1968)
NBA All-Rookie First Team (1968)
NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Time Team
No. 15 retired by New York Knicks
No. 10 retired by Washington Wizards

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

Published by bklynboy59

Welcome to Smallthoughtsinasportsworld. We keep it fun and we keep interesting and informative. On Tuesdays we go back in time with Old School Tuesdays, on Thursdays we keep it fun by Smallthoughts Trivia Thursday and on Fridays ...it is Smallthoughts: Rant of the Week and Smallthoughts:Rave of the Week and we also post the answer from Smallthoughts:Trivia Thursday. I am a lifelong New York Mets, Knicks and Jets and Giants fan. I root hard for my teams and have rooted for them even when it wasn't and in some cases still isn't easy. I enjoy talking sports, and on here I get to write about it as well. I have my thoughts hence Small thoughts, we will not always agree, but respectfully speak about what we feel. I invite your comments and feedback as well. You can also follow me on twitter @bklynboy59 and facebook Jerry bklynboy Small

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