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YouTube Gold: Earl The Pearl Monroe

Monroe doesn't stand up well by today’s standards but there is no questioning his greatness or contributions to the game

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Baltimore Bullets
BALTIMORE, MD - 1967: Earl Monroe #14 of the Baltimore Bullets shoots against the Los Angeles Lakers circa 1967 at the Baltimore Civic Center in Baltimore, Maryland. 
Photo by Ken Regan/NBAE via Getty Images

If you ever meet Billy Packer and want to get him talking for awhile, try asking him about Earl Monroe.

They both played in Winston-Salem in the early ‘60s. Packer graduated Wake Forest in 1962 and Monroe started at Winston-Salem State in 1963. Both grew up in Pennsylvania - Packer grew up in Bethlehem while Monroe grew up in Philadelphia where his high school coach, who had played at WSSU himself, encouraged Monroe to choose it for his own school.

He certainly couldn’t have chosen Wake Forest or any other ACC school as the ACC was a few years from integrating.

Packer was drawn to Winston-Salem State and though he was told not to go over there, he didn’t listen. He and his Wake teammates ended up competing informally against Winston-Salem State in the offseason. He became close to coach Clarence “BIghouse” Gaines and a number of his players, including Monroe, who was doing things that few guys of his era did.

When you look at this video, it looks dated. He’s not as flashy or as fast as some modern players are and he doesn’t look athletic in the way that, say, Russell Westbrook does.

But he was ahead of his time and his spin move is still beautiful.

Bonus video: here’s Packer talking movingly about his experiences at Winston-Salem State and how the basketball program helped to permanently change the city, state and nation.