Earl Monroe is a retired professional basketball player. He played in the National Basketball Association from 1967 to 1980. In that time, he helped lead the New York Knicks to win the NBA Championship title in 1973.

Monroe was named an NBA All-Star four times. He was also named the 1968 NBA Rookie of the Year. In 1985, he was named the Commissioner of the United States Basketball League.

Player Profile and Personal Life

Vernon Earl Monroe was born on November 21, 1944, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the United States of America. He stands 191 cm tall and his weight was last listed at 84 kg. He is right-handed and he played shooting guard and point guard.

Position Point Guard
Height / weight 1.81 m / 84 kg
Born 21 Nov 1944
Nationality United States United States
Playing Style Right Handed
Nickname Earl the Pearl
Team History
204 new york knicks New York 1971 - 1980
817 baltimore bullets Baltimore Bullets 1967 - 1971

He was known as a playground legend when he was younger. He has two kids – a son and a daughter.

Monroe has gone by nicknames: The Pearl, Black Jesus, Black Magic, Einstein, The Lord’s Prayer, Thomas Edison, and The Magic Man. In the film He Got Game, the character Jake Shuttlesworth explained that his son Jesus Shuttleworth was named after one of Monroe’s nicknames.

High School and College Career

A playground legend, his high school teammates called him “Thomas Edison” as he invented many moves. He became popular at a national level whilst playing basketball at the Division II Winston-Salem State University, situated in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Under the excellent coaching of Clarance ‘Big House’ Gaines, he averaged 7.1 points in his first year with 23.2 points as a sophomore, 29.8 points as a junior, and an amazing 41.5 points in his senior year. By 1967, he earned NCAA College Division Player of the Year honors and led the Rams to the NCAA College Division Championship.

Professional Career

In 1967, he was drafted by the then-Baltimore Bullets in the first round of the NBA draft and won the NBA Rookie of the Year award. That season, he averaged 24.3 points per game and scored 56 points in a game against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Along with his teammate, he became a formidable combination in Baltimore and a trendy hero for his ability to run the fast break and his shots. In 1970, he set an NBA record with 13 points in one overtime in double overtime victory against the Detroit Pistons.

In 1971, he was traded to the New York Knicks and formed the Rolls Royce Backcourt, along with Walt Frazier. The duo eventually came together to become one of the most effective guard combinations of all time and led the Knicks to the 1973 NBA championship. This pair is one of the only backcourts that ever featured two Hall of Famers and NBA 50th Anniversary Team members.

This 4x NBA All-Star retired after the 1980 season due to severe knee injuries that plagued him throughout his career.

Monroe played for the Bullets from 1967 to 1971. Later on, he played for the Knicks from 1971 to 1980. He scored 17,454 total points for 926 NBA career games and dished out 3,594 assists. In 2007, the Washington Wizards retired Monroe’s number 10 jersey.

He scored over 1,000 points in 9 of his 13 professional seasons, in 1968-71, 1973, and 1975-78 including a career high of 2,065 in the 1968-69 season.

In 1985, he was chosen Commissioner of the United States Basketball League. By 1990, he was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. He is also the innovator of the spin move.

Career Highlights

  • 1973 - NBA champion
  • 1969, 1971, 1975, 1977 - NBA All-Star
  • 1969 - All-NBA First Team
  • 1968 - NBA Rookie of the Year
  • 1968 - NBA All-Rookie First Team

  • NBA anniversary team (50th, 75th)
  • No. 15 retired by the New York Knicks
  • No. 10 retired by the Washington Wizards

  • 1967 - NCAA College Division champion
  • 1967 - NCAA College Division Tournament MVP

Career Statistics

  • Points - 17,454 (18.8 ppg)
  • Rebounds - 2,796 (3.0 rpg)
  • Assists - 3,594 (3.9 apg)

  • Basketball Hall of Fame as a player, 1990
  • College Basketball Hall of Fame, 2006

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