November 21, 1944 Vernon Earl Monroe, hall of fame basketball player known as “Earl the Pearl,” was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
At an early age, Monroe was a playground legend known as “Thomas Edison” because of the many moves that he invented. In 1967, while playing for Winston-Salem State University, he earned NCAA College Division Player of the Year. That same year, Monroe was selected by the Baltimore Bullets in the NBA Draft and in 1968 he won the NBA Rookie of the Year Award.
Over his fourteen year professional career, Monroe won one NBA championship and was selected to four All-Star teams. In 1986, his number 15 jersey was retired by the New York Knicks and in 2007 his number 10 jersey was retired by the Washington Wizards. Monroe was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1990. Monroe serves as a commentator for Madison Square Garden and as commissioner of the New Jersey Urban Development Corporation.