Earl Monroe dishes on Stephen Curry, Pistol Pete Maravich and prepping children for careers in basketball — Andscape

Ask NBA legend Earl Monroe in regards to the greatness of Stephen Curry, and the Corridor of Famer’s response is prefaced with a story of an evening simply over 45 years in the past when Pistol Pete Maravich torched the New York Knicks for 68 factors within the New Orleans Jazz’s win within the Superdome.

“Pistol Pete dropped 68 on us with no 3-point shot, and in an period the place you bought hit going into the lane and when guys may information you by handchecking,” Monroe stated. “Pete would have been nice in any period.

“Identical to Steph, who I like to look at play, would have been nice in any period.”

You may say the identical of Monroe, who not too long ago earned a spot on the NBA’s checklist of its 75 biggest gamers. Monroe, a four-time NBA All-Star, the 1968 Rookie of the 12 months and an NBA champion throughout his 13-year profession, took a visit down reminiscence lane with Andscape from the principal’s workplace of the Earl Monroe New Renaissance Basketball Faculty, a New York Metropolis highschool that prepares college students for careers which are related to basketball. Monroe is the founding advisor of the varsity which was based by filmmaker Dan Klores (Black Magic, Ring of Fireplace: The Emile Griffith Story, Basketball: A Love Story).

“You would possibly watch a basketball sport and see the gamers on the courtroom, however you don’t see the a whole lot of people that make that each one potential,” Monroe stated of the varsity, which was launched in September 2021 within the Bronx with 110 freshmen. “We’re making an attempt to show our youngsters to these jobs — from the constructing supervisor to the PR individuals to the broadcasters to the trainers — that they won’t essentially be aware of.”

The NBA, main monetary establishments and sneaker firms have all supplied assist from the varsity, which has been visited by NBA nice Magic Johnson in addition to different former and present gamers. Nevertheless it’s the star energy generated by Monroe — who’s passed by the nicknames “The Pearl,” “Black Jesus,” “Black Magic” and “Albert Einstein” — that results in an elevated presence of oldsters and grandparents when phrase circulates that the previous Knicks and Baltimore Bullets guard is making a college look.

“The scholars might not know a lot about him aside from a reputation,” stated Kern Mojica, the varsity’s principal. “However the mother and father wish to know when Earl is right here as a result of they’re starstruck.”

The explanation you would possibly discover AARP-eligible males fanboy in Monroe’s presence: He was a showman together with his spin strikes and shot-making abilities that led to a magical senior season in faculty when he averaged 41.5 factors whereas main Winston-Salem to the 1967 NCAA Division II basketball title.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the best scorer in NBA historical past, as soon as known as Monroe one of the best opponent he ever performed towards on the playground.

“He had his personal cheering part,” Abdul-Jabbar stated of the primary time he performed towards Monroe in a Baker League (Philadelphia) vs. Rucker League (New York) all-star sport. “He got here out and folks had been speaking about ‘Jesus, Jesus.’ He had a deal with and he may shoot it, lights out.”

“That’s flattering,” Monroe stated of the reward from Abdul-Jabbar. “He’s such an awesome participant and has been one of many individuals who carried the NBA in the course of the course of his profession.”

Whereas Monroe ranks Abdul-Jabbar among the many NBA’s greatest large males, he has Wilt Chamberlain as the best.

“Wilt averaged 50 factors and 25 rebounds over the course of a season, and nonetheless didn’t win the MVP award,” Monroe stated of Chamberlain’s 1961-62 season with the Philadelphia Warriors when Invoice Russell was named the league’s MVP. “He holds a ton of data. Had he not gone a few seasons the place he stopped taking pictures and had he performed greater than 13 seasons, he would have had over 50,000 profession factors.”

New York Knicks legend Earl Monroe admires NBA gamers from the previous and current. “Pete [Maravich] would have been nice in any period. Identical to Steph [Curry], who I like to look at play, would have been nice in any period,” Monroe stated.

Ned Dishman/NBAE by way of Getty Pictures

Whereas Monroe hesitates to match eras when the dialog turns to the sport’s biggest shooter, he’s fast to reply when describing the best shooter he performed towards.

“Oscar Robertson, and it wasn’t a lot of him being only a pure shooter,” Monroe stated. “He was simply at all times ready to get a shot and to make a shot.” 

Does Curry earn house on Monroe’s biggest shooter of all-time checklist?

“The way in which the sport’s performed now he’s very excessive up there,” Monroe stated. “He can shoot, he has an awesome kind and he has a cockiness that’s cocky, however not overly cocky. He understands precisely who he’s, and the way he’s in a position to dominate a sport.”

And the way would Monroe’s groups from the previous have defended Curry?

“He’d must get damage, child, a few instances,” Monroe stated, laughing. “Again in my day you took a few fouls, and the following time they got here down the lane, they’d know what was coming. I used to play towards Chicago with Norm Van Lier and Jerry Sloan, they usually had been the epitome of handchecking. These had been the tips of fellows again within the day, tips you’ll be able to’t use anymore.”

Again to that 68-point sport Maravich had on Monroe’s 1977 Knicks, on the time the eighth-highest particular person scoring sport in NBA historical past. As Monroe declares that Maravich dropped the 68 on “us,” his spouse seated to his left, Marita Inexperienced, corrects him.

“On you,” Inexperienced stated. “I bear in mind the sport.”

“I bear in mind it, too,” Monroe stated, laughing. “My recollection is that he received six factors on me, and the remaining on Walt Frazier and Butch Beard. Don’t put that each one on me.”

Jerry Bembry is a senior author at Andscape. His bucket checklist objects embody being serenaded by Lizz Wright and watching the Knicks play a MEANINGFUL NBA sport in June.


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