In 1986, the New York Knicks retired Earl Monroe’s no. 15 jersey. Monroe, nicknamed “Earl the Pearl,” starred in the Knicks 1973 championship team. Monroe was the second overall pick in the 1967 NBA draft by the Baltimore Suns. In his second season, Monroe averaged 25.8 points, 4.5 assists and 3.9 rebounds and became known for his fast breaks and fair style of play. During the 1971 NBA Finals, he averaged 16.3 points, 4 assists and 4 rebounds. Monroe was traded to the New York Knicks in 1971 and formed an effective guard combination called the “Rolls Royce Backcourt” with Walt Frazier. During the Knick’s 1973 Championship, Monroe averaged 16 points and 4.2 assists. Monroe was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1990. He, along with Frazier, was named to the NBA’s 50th anniversary All-Time Team in 1996. In 2005, the American Basketball Association (ABA) named a team, the Baltimore Pearls, in Monroe’s honor.
Today in Sports History: March 1