Streetball Legends: Earl “The Goat” Manigault
If you don’t know the difference between the GOAT and “The Goat” get educated.
HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Kareem called him the best he ever saw play. Just stop and think about that for a second.
A mere 6’1″ tall, the Goat’s superhuman vertical leap gave rise to the legend that he could set a stack of quarters on the top of the backboard, jump again and take them back down. Manigault’s legend grew over the course of several summers competing at Rucker Park against NBA legends like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (then still Lew Alcindor), Connie “The Hawk” Hawkins and Earl “Black Jesus” Monroe, as he was known by streetball fans. Indeed, when Kareem was asked at his jersey retirement ceremony to name the greatest player he ever faced on the court, he pointed to Earl Manigault.
Despite his modest stature, Manigault was able to pull off the phenomenally difficult “Double Dunk”, in which he would dunk the ball, catch it with his left hand and windmill it back into the hoop from the other side, all in a single leap without hanging on the rim. He also showed off his unusually good conditioning on one occasion by throwing down thirty-six consecutive reverse dunks to win a bet for sixty dollars.
Unfortunately, The Goat never realised his full potential as an athlete due to drug issues, ultimately serving two separate jail sentences as a result of his addiction. His story was finally one of redemption, however, as he quit drugs following his second sentence and founded the “Walk Away from Drugs” tournament. His tale was immortalized in the movie “Rebound: The Legend of Earl ‘The Goat’ Manigault”, with Don Cheadle playing the title role.
Photo Credit: Getty Images.