By Ivan Carter
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Earl Monroe is remembered in some basketball circles as the player who spent nearly nine seasons playing for the New York Knicks but to Monroe, he'll always be a Baltimore Bullet.
Monroe, whose number 10 will be added to the rafters at Verizon Center during the Dec. 1 game against the Toronto Raptors, was drafted by the Bullets in 1967 and spent just over four seasons with the team before a trade sent him to New York in the 1971-72 season.
"For a long time, even playing in New York, I never felt as though people felt I was a Knick," Monroe said during a news conference prior to last night's Wizards-76ers game at Verizon Center. "I think they looked at me as a Baltimore Bullet as that's how I've always looked at myself."
During his time with the franchise, Monroe splashed his name all over the record book while establishing himself as a rare performer who was idolized by an entire generation of young players. His nickname, "The Pearl," remains one of the hippest in the history of the sport.
Monroe was named rookie of the year after the 1967-68 season. He scored a franchise-record 56 points in a game, a mark that stood until last December, when Gilbert Arenas scored 60 points in a win over the Lakers.
After averaging 23.7 points as a Bullet and helping the team become an annual contender, a contract dispute led to Monroe's departure. It's something he still regrets.
"Always," he said. "I've always said that because I was with a great team. It was unfortunate that it happened."
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