Normally when you hear a story about an athlete from the old days having lots of medical work done, it's a boxer or football player.
But this surgery saga is about an NBA legend.
"Earl The Pearl" Monroe, who starred in the backcourt with Walt "Clyde" Frazier on the New York Knicks, is undergoing approximately his 30th operation since retiring from the NBA in 1980.
Monroe had a flamboyant style on the basketball court, where he's credited with being the king of the "shake-and-bake" move which helped give him the iconic nickname "Black Jesus."
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But the 67-year-old's body has broken down since he retired, according to the New York Post. "This will be his fifth on his back and neck area," his wife Marita Green told the Post's Peter Vecsey. "He’s also had five hip replacements. Amazingly, his knees were never operated on, but he told me the other day they’re starting to bother him."
Enshrined into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1990, Monroe was a four-time NBA All-Star guard and became a cult hero thanks to his twisting, spinning, faking, double-pump, and dribbling exploits, according to his Hall of Fame bio.
While playing with Frazier in the legendary backcourt of the 1970s, Monroe was part of the Knicks' last world championship team 39 years ago. Out of Division-II Winston-Salem State University, the 6-3 guard averaged 18.8 points, 3.9 assists and 3.0 rebounds over his 13 seasons in New York and Baltimore.
Monroe's wife believes her husband will need at least a few more surgeries in the near future.
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