Former Baltimore Bullet, NBA champion and basketball Hall of Famer Earl Monroe has joined the legion of former athletes who have ventured into the world of education. Monroe has established ‘The Earl Monroe New Renaissance Basketball School’ in the Bronx, with a focus on sports business.
The school is designed to teach children the business side of basketball and prepare them for careers in that sector. The charter school will offer basketball as an activity, but that will take a backseat to the main goal of the founders, which is to ensure attendees will be well-prepared for the wide world of everything in sports, from marketing to public relations to ticket sales and beyond.
“When you watch a game, you see the players and the referees on the court, sometimes the coaches. This school is about what you would see if you pulled the camera back and showed everything else,” Monroe said in a recent interview with the New York Times.
“If basketball is what inspires kids, then let’s use that to help them achieve. Not necessarily on the court, because we all know the odds of a kid becoming a professional player is pretty small,” Monroe said. “But there are so many other opportunities out there in the ecosystem.”
Not only will the school teach kids about the off-the-court side of basketball, but it will also teach them the same things taught in grade schools: math, language, history, etc.
Per David Waldstein of the New York Times, 110 ninth graders entered the school last month, which is where the headcount will remain for the rest of this academic year. Over the course of the next three years, 110 more ninth-graders will be added annually, capping enrollment at about 440 students.
“There are a million schools for kids to play basketball. This school is for kids who may not play professionally, but who still love the game and could participate in the greater world of basketball in some form,” Dan Klores said, one of the school’s founders who has taken a lead role on the school board.
Monroe, 76, is remembered as one of the best players in Washington franchise history, his No. 10 hanging in the rafters of Capital One Arena. Though he never actually suited up in the nation’s capital, Monroe spent four seasons as Baltimore Bullet, winning Rookie of the Year in 1968 and getting two All-Star nods in 1969 and 1971.
After 328 games with the Bullets, Monroe was traded to the New York Knicks, where his career would take off even further. As a Knick, he would win the 1973 NBA Championship, earn two more All-Star appearances, and have his No. 15 retired by the organization.
While he played in New York for nine seasons, from 1971-1980, Monroe ran a basketball camp that was centered on helping kids learn skills beyond the game. He never forgot that mission over the next four decades. His dream charter school has now come to fruition, Monroe beautifully summed up the school’s overarching mission.
“We don’t need 20 new basketballs. We need your designer to come speak to the kids. We need your 29-year-old corporate attorney to come and give a presentation.”