‘Don’t Screw Up the Team’

Since first demanding that the Bullets trade Earl Monroe, Larry Fleisher had now whittled down the list of acceptable franchises to one. the New York Knicks. For Fleisher, it was simply the best fit. The Knicks were a veteran team that remained in the NBA championship hunt. New York fans would be sophisticated enough to appreciate Monroe’s magic act whenever he flashed his Earl the Pearl mystique.

Going AWOL

Archie Clark stood dribbling the basketball at the top of the key.  Staring back at him in a stiff, crouched defensive stance was Gene Shue. Archie unleashed a quick series of head and shoulder fakes. Shue scuttled crab-like backwards. Archie gave a hard feint right and crossed over his dribble to the left. Shue scuttled forward, but it was too late.  

Phil, the Pearl, and Archie

[In October 1971, Earl Monroe entered his fifth NBA season with the Baltimore Bullets. He wanted out of Baltimore in the worst way. Over the next few days, I’ll post cut material from my recently published book, Shake and Bake, that chronicles one of the testiest trades in NBA history. Here’s part 1.] Baltimore, OctoberContinue reading “Phil, the Pearl, and Archie”

Seven and Done

In late March into early April 1971, the Baltimore Bullets and Philadelphia 76ers met in the first round of the NBA playoffs. It would go down in NBA history as one of the league’s more-grueling playoff matchups. Having recently published the book Shake and Bake with NBA great Archie Clark, I have a clip file of the series that’s allowed me to condense the print coverage and recap Games 1 – 6. Now, without further ado, it’s on to deciding Game 7.

Under Pressure

The kookie, mixed-up, unexplainable world of professional basketball makes an unexpected call on the Spectrum this afternoon. Anyone wishing to forecast the outcome can be fitted for straight-jackets at 2 p.m., which is tapoff for the 76ers-Baltimore shootout. The Bullets have a 3-2 edge in the best-of-seven series. If sanity does return to the series, the 76erd have a better-than-even chance of sending it all back to Baltimore for a deciding game tomorrow afternoon.

The Kangaroo Kid That Could

Four games in, the Baltimore Bullets seemingly have the best-of-seven series in command three games to one. The action now dribbles back to Baltimore’s quirky Civic Center for the presumed clincher, and the Bullets’ chance to move on and renew its playoff hostilities with the loathed New York Knicks in the Eastern Division finals. Too bad they would lose on a wild pitch.

Bruised But Unbowed

In March 1971, the Baltimore Bullets and Philadelphia 76ers met in the first round of the NBA playoffs. It would be the start of Earl Monroe’s final playoff run in Baltimore. It also would go down in NBA history as one of the league’s more-grueling playoff jousts. Not quite in the category of the Knicks-Heat clashes of the 1990s—but close. Having recently published the book Shake and Bake with NBA great Archie Clark, I have a clip file of the series from the Baltimore Morning Sun, Baltimore Evening Sun, Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News, and Philadelphia Evening Bulletin. I’ve pulled the best quotes from their playoff stories, without traditional attribution, and rolled them into a “super stories” for each game of the series. It’s my way of bringing this classic series back to life as vividly as print journalism allows, 50 years hence. Yesterday, we took a plunge into Game 1. Today, the coverage picks up with Games 2 and 3.

The Sick, The Lame, and The Swollen

In March 1971, the Baltimore Bullets and Philadelphia 76ers met in the first round of the NBA playoffs. It would be the start of Earl Monroe’s final playoff run in Baltimore. It also would go down in NBA history as one of the league’s more-grueling playoff jousts. Not quite in the category of the Knicks-Heat clashes of the 1990s—but close. Having recently published the book Shake and Bake with NBA great Archie Clark, I have a clip file of the series from the Baltimore Morning Sun, Baltimore Evening Sun, Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News, and Philadelphia Evening Bulletin. Beloved bylines such as: Alan Goldstein, Seymour Smith, Bob Maisel, Mark Heisler, Alan Richman (yes, the food critic), Bill Tanton, Mike Janofsky, and Jack Kiser. 

The Magnificent Monroe

[Below is text drafted for the book Shake and Bake. It didn’t make the final cut over concerns about the length of the book. Too bad. This vignette shares a truly fun-and-intimate moment between superstar and fans that would be unimaginable in today’s NBA. Enjoy!] . . . The next day brought the 76ers aContinue reading “The Magnificent Monroe”