Vernon "Earl" Monroe

Earl Monroe was a maestro of the hardwood orchestrating a dazzling show in front of thousands of fans every night. His twisting, spinning, faking, double-pump, and dribbling exploits made him a cult hero and earned him the nickname "The Pearl." Under Hall of Fame coach Clarence Gaines, Monroe became a collegiate star of considerable stature at Winston-Salem State winning the College Division national championship in 1967. He averaged 41.5 points per game his senior season. Monroe then dazzled professionally with the Baltimore Bullets where he and fellow Hall of Famer Wes Unseld created a devastating fast break not seen before in the NBA. In 1971, Monroe joined the New York Knicks where he and Walt Frazier formed an All Star celebrity backcourt that ultimately landed the Knicks the 1973 NBA championship. The 1968 NBA Rookie of the Year, Monroe pounded the hardwood during an era of great guards and wonderful showmen and proved the little man still mattered in a big man's game.