During the season, NBA.com editors Darren Misener, Martin Sumners and Jim Reilly will be keeping you updated on all the best news and content from around the 30 team sites in the Conference Call Blog. East, Week 1 | West, Week 1 | East, Week 2 | West, Week 2 | East, Week 3 |
West, Week 3 | East, Week 4

By Darren Misener

Earl to Rise
Take a stroll down 7th street NW towards F in our Nation's Capital, perhaps grab a pre-game bite at Clyde's, and settle into your seats for a Wizards game. Glance up at the rafters and you'll see Wes Unseld’s No. 41, Elvin Hayes’ No. 11 and Gus Johnson’s No. 25, but soon a deserving No. 10 will also rise up. Basketball Hall of Famer, and one of the better nicknames in professional sports, Earl "the Pearl" Monroe will have his jersey retired on Dec. 1, when the Wizards host the Raptors.

Monroe was drafted by the Washington franchise (then the Baltimore Bullets) in 1967 and made his presence in the league felt immediately. He won NBA Rookie of the Year honors in 1968 after averaging 24.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game in his first professional season.

Monroe was mainly known for his astonishing ability and flashy moves with the ball in his hands. While he adapted a bit of his "street" game to fit the NBA style, he also helped usher in a period in the NBA (with the likes of Walt Clyde Frasier, who he later teamed with in New York) of slashing drives to the hoop and no-look passing. The Pearl was also one of the first innovator's of the spin move on the court. He was elected to Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1990.

In four-plus seasons as a Bullet, Monroe averaged 23.7 points per game, and helped the Bullets advanced to the 1970-71 NBA Finals. His then-franchise record of 56 points in a single game (2/13/68 vs. LA Lakers) stood for nearly four decades until Gilbert Arenas edged Monroe with 60 points at Los Angeles on December 17, 2006.

"This is a great honor,” said Monroe. “I was drafted by the Bullets and it was in Baltimore where I started my professional career. It was four great years with a lot of fond memories. It was a wonderful experience. My four years with the Bullets set the tone for the rest of my career, and now it brings me full circle with my number being retired.”

The real honor is watching some of the old highlight films of Monroe in action.


Nine's Not Enough
I know it's only nine games. Only nine. But with this talk of retiring No.'s and the Celtics running off to hot start and looking like the team to beat in the East, I wonder if Paul Pierce's No. 34 or even Kevin Garnett's No. 5 will ever be in the rafters in Beantown.

Feeling Hawkish
Want a die-hard Hawk fan's take on this young season? Lang Whitaker, editor of SLAM magazine, is adding his musings to Hawks.com

Goal Oriented
Pacers.com catches up with Jermaine O'Neal to ask him a fan's question about what he wants to accomplish this season.

Deep Threat?
What lanky wideout racked up more than 700 receiving yards as a sophomore at St. Vincent-St. Mary’s? That's right, LeBron James. Cavs.com sat down with LBJ to talk some football.

Easy Being Green
Paging Al Gore. The most appropriate place for the first carbon neutral NBA franchise is, of course, the swamps of New Jersey.

Gained in Translation
Screen and roll is a simple basketball play. But what happens if you can't understand those words? In Milwaukee, Yi Jianlian's high basketball IQ makes up for most of the words that might get lost in translation.

Among the People
Raptors.com's Mike Ulmer spent a game watching from the stands in Toronto last week. Check out his perspective of the Raptors-Magic battle.

Continuing to Help
Sixers rookie Thaddeus Young hosted 100 kids from the local Dryades YMCA and made a $5,000 donation to the organization as part of the NBA’s efforts to continue outreach and support for the community that devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Young and Experienced
Bulls draft pick JamesOn Curry is only 21 years old and was a second round draft pick last year for Chicago. But despite his age, he's had 19 years of basketball experience.

Making a Statement Early
It might count the same in the win/loss column, but not all wins are created equal. Last week, the Pistons executed a 29-point turnaround without a couple key players, making a statement without saying a word.