Basketball

NBA 75: At No. 58, Earl Monroe dazzled with his flashy dribbling and spectacular shooting


Welcome to the NBA 75, The Athletic’s countdown of the 75 best players in NBA history, in honor of the league’s diamond anniversary. From Nov. 1 through Feb. 18, we’ll unveil a new player on the list every weekday except for Dec. 27-31, culminating with the man picked by a panel of The Athletic NBA staff members as the greatest of all time.

While Sonny Hill was coaching a team in the summer league that he founded, Philadelphia’s famous Charles Baker Memorial Basketball League, he would often feel the energy at Temple University’s McGonigle Hall immediately change from his spot on the bench.

It was a scene that would play out often in the late 1960s and early ’70s, with Hill noticing an unmistakable buzz permeating through the already-packed gym. The game had already begun, perhaps even into the second quarter, but word had trickled in from outside that the night’s feature attraction had arrived.

He’s on his way in. He’s coming.

Since the game had already started and the gym was full, there was nowhere to park. So, in the middle of Broad Street, the man who Hill dubbed “Mr. Baker League” would park his 1967 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow. As he moved toward the gym, word would matriculate from outside and make its way inside. When he came out of the tunnel, the fans in North Philadelphia went wild.

Earl Monroe would then walk over to the bench, immediately check into the game without warming up and proceed to put on a show.





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