At the press conference announcing his #10 jersey being retired, Earl Monroe talks about his career as a Bullet, his game versus the game today, and what it takes to be a leader.
Earl “the Pearl” Monroe had a style unlike any other when he came into the league. Watch a highlight tape to see his famous high-dribble spin-move, stutter-step, and fadeaway jumper.
Washington Wizards Owners Irene and Abe Pollin and the Washington
Wizards organization will retire legendary Baltimore Bullet Earl Monroe’s uniform number 10. Monroe’s number will officially be retired
in a special halftime ceremony on Saturday, December 1st when the
Wizards host the Toronto Raptors. December 1st will also mark the
celebration of the 10-year anniversary of the opening of Verizon Center;
which hosted its first NBA game on December 2, 1997.
Earl Monroe: Innovator, Game Changer
In every major professional sport there are players that are looked
at in history as “game changers”, players that take
the basic principles of their sport and transform them and in the
process revolutionize the game. These game changers challenge the
“system” of that sport, they challenge the idea that
the games fundamentals can not be varied; in 1968 the Baltimore
Bullets franchise and the entire sports world, witnessed one of
sports great game changers. Read
Bio Full Name: Vernon Earl Monroe Born: November 21, 1944 in Philadelphia Height: 6-3 Weight: 195 lbs. College: Winston-Salem (N.C.) Drafted by: Baltimore Bullets, 1967 (second pick
overall) Nickname: The Pearl Honors: Elected to Naismith Memorial Basketball
Hall of Fame (1990);
NBA champion (1973); All-NBA First Team (1969); NBA Rookie of the
NBA All-Rookie Team (1968); Four-time NBA All-Star (1969, '71, '75,
One of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History (1996).
2nd most points scored in a game - 56
3rd all-time in scoring average per game - 23.7
10th all-time average minutes per game - 36.8
6th all-time free throws made - 1,905
6th all-time free throws attempted - 2,396
Franchise Playoff Records
6th all-time in points scored - 706
3rd all-time in scoring average per game - 24.3
4th all-time in free throws made - 180
CAREER STATS AS A BULLET
PLAYOFF STATS AS A BULLET
Monroe's Quotes On having his Number 10 jersey retired by the organization:
“This is a great honor. 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, once again, with my number being retired.”
On who contacted him from the organization with the news about his number being retired:
“Robert Pollin called me about this honor. He told me that his father and the family wanted to honor me. The Pollins are great people and I am really excited about this honor.”
On his tenure with the Baltimore Bullets organization (1967-71):
“I had wonderful memories during my time with the Bullets. It was my first pro team. I remember when we started training camp and I was playing with Gus Johnson, Jack Marin and Kevin Loughery. I was playing with these outstanding players and it was very exciting. I played with them for four years and we became one of the better teams in the NBA. We worked our way from the bottom and got there with a lot of hard work. I look back at those years with many great memories.”
On sharing this night with his former teammates:
“I will look at this honor as a team effort. Each individual received their accolades, but whether it was Wes (Unseld) or Gus (Johnson) - it always came back to being a team effort. I look forward to sharing this honor together with Wes, Jack, Kevin, and Gus will always be with us and is very close to my heart.”
Player Quotes Wes Unseld (1968-81)
"I can't think of anyone better than Earl. He revolutionized certain aspects of the game that a lot of players are copying even today. He could do it so effortlessly and was so fantastic to watch. He had the ability not only to draw attention to himself, but to draw attention to the game. Earl was a great teammate whose first thought was to win the game. I remember when we played an exhibition game in Winston Salem. We took the floor and it was very quiet, until Earl came on the floor. They started singing a song called the 'Ballad of Earl Monroe.' They would sing the song and he would come into the game for a quarter or so and score 20 or 25 points and the crowd would sing the 'Ballad of Earl Monroe.' He was idolized and it was fun to share in that experience."
Kevin Loughery (1963-72)
"Earl Monroe is one of the greatest players in NBA history. In the short time that I had the opportunity to play with him, I think he revolutionized guard play in the NBA. We were always taught not to back people in - but he had the spin moves and all types of gyration moves that were fabulous, and I think he is responsible in revolutionizing guard play. Earl was not only a great player, but a great teammate and I enjoyed playing with him."
Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld
Earl Monroe is a Hall of Famer. He’s one of the 50 greatest players to play in the league. He was Rookie of the Year here, and he’s been a great friend of this organization for many years. He has the second-highest scoring game in this organization with 56 in one game. The thing I remember about him is watching him as a player. Very few players in this game can say that they changed the game, revolutionized the game. And that’s what he did. I remember as a kid watching him with his spin move and his freeze move and his herky-jerky movements where he just froze his opponents and got his jump shot off. It was just what everybody tried to do on the playground and what everyone tried to emulate. He was a great player, and a great competitor. He was winner. I watched him play with the Baltimore Bullets when they went to NBA Finals. Having known him for over twenty years now, I have great respect for him, not only as a player but as a man. He’s a great individual. He gives gave back to the community. He is still beloved in Baltimore as he is in North Carolina, where he went to college at Winston Salem. I am very pleased to say he’s a good friend of mine and I can’t wait for the night that his number 10 will go up there in the rafters and stay there forever among the other immortals in this organization. Earl congratulations. It is well deserved."
Archie Clark (1971-74)
"Earl brought a flair to the team and was one of the most dynamic players to play the game. It is a wonderful honor and very befittimg that the organization chose to honor him in this fashion."
"One of many memories is when Earl scored his career high against me when I was playing for the Lakers. (56 points against the Los Angeles Lakers on February 13, 1968). It was a great shootong contest between him and Jerry West. It left a great impression on my mind. I tried but I just couldn't stop him."
"Earl's spin move was something that he and Jimmy Walker created. The ability to spin and in one rythm make a shot.. You committed yourself and he would make another move and it just kept you off balance. His greatest legacy is his spin move."
Phil Chenier (1971-80)
“I can add a little bit from the perspective of my first year as a Bullet. I think I was 20 years old then, and between Earl and Gus Johnson, they looked after me. Like everyone else, thank you for the memories and for helping make the game what it is today, but personally for looking after me as a young guy a making me feel comfortable. Of course he didn’t stay long. He went on to New York and then I had to guard him a lot. I saw a lot of jumpers over those years. I am glad that’s over with. Congratulations, it’s a well deserved honor. I am going to be looking forward to seeing that number up there.”
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