Skip to content

How the KKK helped Earl “The Pearl” Monroe become a Knicks legend (and not a Pacer)

Apr 22, 2013, 2:31 PM EDT

Earl Monroe New York Knicks

If you talk about players I love to watch old footage of on YouTube, Earl “The Pearl” Monroe is near the top of the list. He had smooth one-on-one moves with a playground feel to his game that was very entertaining. He was a perfect fit in New York.

Monroe has a new book coming out on Tuesday where he talks in detail about his career. That includes how he forced his way out of Washington to ultimately end up with the Knicks.

But before New York called he almost ended up in the ABA with the Pacers, something he talks about in an excerpt from the book published on Deadspin Monday. Monroe wasn’t sold on the deal at first but started to warm up to it. There was a trade offer on the table and Monroe went to Indiana to meet the players.

So I went to the game and the Pacers won. Then, after the game, I went back to meet the Pacers’ players in the locker room. I liked them, too. But then, after they had showered and dressed, all the black players reached up over their lockers and starting bringing guns down. I was shocked to see this and asked, “Why do you guys have guns?”

“They got Ku Klux Klan everywhere around here outside Indianapolis and in the city, too,” one of the players said. “So we got guns to protect ourselves.”

That killed that trade. As you might expect.

Monroe held out for a few more days (he had left the team) and eventually was traded to the Knicks. And the rest is history.

Latest Posts
  1. Report: Amir Johnson agrees to two-year, $24 million deal with Celtics

    Jul 1, 2015, 4:11 PM EDT

    Amir Johnson Amir Johnson

    Boston gets nice value on a short-term frontcourt upgrade.

  2. Report: Cavaliers, Tristan Thompson near five-year, $80 million contract

    Jul 1, 2015, 3:09 PM EDT

    2015 NBA Finals - Game Six Getty Images

    The road to the NBA Finals out of the East — and maybe to the Larry O’Brien trophy itself — goes through Cleveland.

  3. Alex Ajinca re-signs with Pelicans for four years, reported $20.5 million

    Jul 1, 2015, 2:28 PM EDT

    New Orleans Pelicans v Minnesota Timberwolves Getty Images

    The Pelicans were +10 per 48 minutes with an offensive rating of 111.9 (points per 100 possessions) when Anthony Davis and Ajinca were paired last season.

  4. Report: Raptors, DeMarre Carroll agree to four-year deal worth $60 million

    Jul 1, 2015, 12:29 PM EDT

    Nice get for Toronto, and a Hawks team that won 60 games is going to look very different next season.

  5. Report: Spurs reach deal to trade Tiago Splitter to Hawks, create cap space for LaMarcus Aldridge offer

    Jul 1, 2015, 12:03 PM EDT

    Tiago Splitter, LaMarcus Aldridge AP

    The Spurs can now offer Aldridge the chance to return to his native Texas and walk right onto a serious title contender.

  6. Report: Kobe Bryant was ‘very good’ in Lakers meeting with LaMarcus Aldridge, which went ‘really well’

    Jul 1, 2015, 11:26 AM EDT

    2015 BET Experience - Genius Talks Presented By AT&T Getty Images

    Lakers feel better about this one than previous meetings with Carmelo Anthony and Dwight Howard.

  7. Report: Heat, Goran Dragic agree to five-year deal worth $90 million

    Jul 1, 2015, 10:38 AM EDT

    Orlando Magic v Miami Heat Getty Images

    This was expected. But what happens with Dwyane Wade?

  8. Report: Bulls bringing back Mike Dunleavy on three-year deal worth $15 million

    Jul 1, 2015, 9:54 AM EDT

    Mike Dunleavy, James Harden AP

    Solid move by Chicago at an extremely reasonable price.

  9. Report: Cleveland Cavaliers reach out to veteran Tayshaun Prince

    Jul 1, 2015, 8:30 AM EDT

    Indiana Pacers v Detroit Pistons Getty Images

    Prince played better than you’d think last season, but he will turn 36 this coming year.

  10. Report: Kings aggressively pursuing Rajon Rondo

    Jul 1, 2015, 8:00 AM EDT

    Dallas Mavericks v New Orleans Pelicans Dallas Mavericks v New Orleans Pelicans

    Does putting Rajon Rondo, DeMarcus Cousins and George Karl in close proximity to each other for an entire NBA season seem like a good idea?

  11. Report: Nets reach deals to re-sign Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young

    Jul 1, 2015, 2:12 AM EDT

    Atlanta Hawks v Brooklyn Nets- Game Four Atlanta Hawks v Brooklyn Nets- Game Four

    Lopez gets three years, $60 million; Young gets four years, $50 million.

Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. L. Aldridge (4650)
  2. D. Wade (4424)
  3. J. Embiid (3803)
  4. L. James (3634)
  5. K. Love (3219)
  1. K. Bryant (3052)
  2. D. Cousins (2997)
  3. J. Butler (2714)
  4. T. Harris (2695)
  5. K. Durant (2450)