Earl Monroe Rumors
It used to not be a unicorn-level event, of course, for Black players from HBCUs to make it big in the NBA. Earl Monroe, Sam Jones, Willis Reed, Bob Dandridge — all Hall of Famers — played at HBCUs. Monroe was the second pick of the 1967 draft after leading Division II in scoring at Winston-Salem State. Today, only Robert Covington, who played at Tennessee State, is an HBCU alum. But, more NBA players are making real outreach to HBCU programs. Famously, former NBA player J.R. Smith is playing golf at North Carolina A&T. And, more quietly, real relationships are being built. Chris Paul has championed HBCU investment for the last several years, partnering with the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame to create the four-team Chris Paul HBCU Kick-Off in Connecticut. He’s getting his bachelor’s at Winston-Salem. Stephen Curry is funding the golf programs at Howard for six years, raising $3 million for the program’s endowment in 2021 at a charity golf tournament and auction at Pebble Beach. Both Paul and Curry met with Howard’s and Morgan’s players before Saturday’s game.
By that time, Monroe had collected a plethora of nicknames: “Einstein,” “Thomas Edison” (for all the moves he invented) and “Money” (which came from Gaines) were just a few of them. Among the long list of nicknames, there are two that stand out. The first is “Earl The Pearl,” which is the one that hit the mainstream. According to Monroe, the genesis of “The Pearl” came from a sportswriter for the Winston-Salem Journal named Luix Overbea, who referred to a string of many high-scoring games as “Earl’s pearls.” That eventually was reworked to “Earl The Pearl.”
Ian Begley: Julius Randle & Earl Monroe in the Bronx today at the Earl Monroe New Rennaisance Basketball School. Randle announced a pledged to donate $500 for every 3-point shot he hits this season. The donation is ear-marked for the school’s math & literacy intervention programs.
Dwight Howard has more All-NBA selections (8) than any other player left off the NBA’s 75th Anniversary Team. Howard has as many All-NBA selections as Dave DeBusschere, Kevin McHale, Earl Monroe, Dennis Rodman, Nate Thurmond, Wes Unseld, Lenny Wilkens, and James Worthy combined.
Earl “The Pearl” Monroe is working to take the relationship between sports and education to the next level. On Aug. 30, the first basketball-specialized high school in the country will open its doors to students. The Earl Monroe New Renaissance Basketball School is not the first community-uplifting venture Monroe has endeavored upon, but it has been a long-sought dream. “This is so much more broader and more magnificent than I could ever have thought of,” Monroe said.