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Opening That Pearly Gate
Michael Jaffe
February 10, 1992
The author was in seventh heaven after scoring on none other than Earl (the Pearl) Monroe
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February 10, 1992

Opening That Pearly Gate

The author was in seventh heaven after scoring on none other than Earl (the Pearl) Monroe

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Freeze this moment in time. I had just scored on Earl the Pearl. In front of witnesses, no less! And he had responded with a soft, throaty "Ooohh." Might it be possible to create a video loop of the shot that could play endlessly on my VCR?

My team made another bucket, and then the former Knicks scored twice to tie the game. Feeling a good deal more confident, I played aggressively—jabbing at the ball as Pearl held it above his chest. Then in a burst he was by me, executing his famous twist-and-twirl move before the ball left his hands and sailed through the hoop for the winning basket.

"The la-la?" I asked.

He just smiled.

The next morning, The New York Times-ran a two-column photograph of the Pearl doubling down on one of my teammates, leaving me unguarded near the baseline some eight feet away. "Clearly," noted a friend of mine, "Earl did not fear another baby jump hook." Ooohh.

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