One of the streetball players that we have been obsessed with over the years is the goat, Earl Manigault. Manigault is the ultimate “what if” of a streetball player. If Manigault stayed off drugs and went to the right college, what could have been? How good of NBA player could he have been? Kareem said that was the best of the best, and its hard to not believe the Captain on something like that. We like to use Rajon Rondo as our modern day comparable athlete, as Rondo was about the same size as Manigault. Rondo is probably a little bigger than Earl was, as Earl really didn’t do any weight training as very few players did back then. Some sources even had Manigault as small as 5’11. So when you are reading these stories, think to yourself, could someone Rondo’s size really do this???
1. 60 Inch Vertical- Yup you read that right. Earl has been cited as having a vertical leap anywhere from 55-60 inches. We have heard of realistic verticals being as high as 50 inches( Cuban Volleyball player Leonel Marshall), but have never heard 60 before. Nor seen one confirmed. But like many of the goat’s stories, not of them have actually been confirmed. He has only confirmed that he couldn’t touch the top of the backboard, but could get pretty close. The goat was tearing up the blacktops in NYC in the early 1960s, so there is absolutely no footage of him from his playing days. There were no photographers taking streetball shots back in the day, so not even a good picture exists. We weren’t even able to locate any pictures of Earl as a young man for this blogpost.
2. The Double Dunk- So the only known person to have done this is Gerald Green, who did this in the All-Star weekend dunk contest a few years ago. Green, however, took many attempts to complete it and was able to do it without anyone in front of him and was able to attack the rim at just the angle he wanted. The goat was said to have done this during a game in traffic and on defenders! Dribble up the court, crossover a defender, punch through the lane, rise, dunk once, catch the ball, dunk again with the other hand without holding on to the rim.
3. The 6’1 Shotblocker- Picture Rajon Rondo being an elite shot blocker. Now think of Rondo blocking forwards and centers shots all the damn time. That’s exactly what Manigault used to do on the NYC courts. Since Rondo does lift and is pretty muscular, its probably more believable that Rondo could do it instead of the rail-thin Manigualt. Earl was known for blocking the shots of guys way taller than he was, guys 6’9 and 6’10 with ease. In the movie Rebound, there is a game where Manigualt blocks one of Wilt Chamberlain’s shots, but the true story is that Jackie Jackson did that and not Earl.
4. The Dunk On The Whole Team- Earl says, again unconfirmed but coming from the goat’s mouth, that one time at Laurinburg Prep Academy (when he was around 18) he threw one down over the whole team. He went baseline, caught the pass just right and threw it down over ALL 5 defenders with a REVERSE one hander. The whole gymnasium started wildin out, and the goat’s coach was so mad for the riling up the crowd that way that he pulled the goat from the game for that dunk.
5. The Ultimate Dunk- In what is supposed to be the most storied slam dunk in basketball history, the story goes that Earl threw one down that will go down as the greatest dunk of all time. The stories on this dunk differ, but the story starts that Manigualt took off from the foul line and threw it down on two larger defenders, one 6’5 and anther 6’9. The stories range from Manigault throwing down a two hand dunk from the foul line on the two defenders to Manigault doing a 360 from the foul line on two defenders to the extreme version of the story which consists of Earl doing a full 720 from the foul line and throwing it down on two defenders. The 720 story is even printed in an old Sports Illustrated book just so you know and just so you don’t think we are crazy and are making that up. We did see Zach Lavine do a 360 from the foul line earlier this year (just not during a game), so its not entirely impossible, but a 720 from 15 feet away goes against all gravitational laws. The most likely of these scenarios is that Manigault left from the foul line and dunked straight with two hands on two taller defenders.
Do you know of any great Earl Manigault stories?