July 14, 2011

The Life of Street Ball Legends Pee Wee Kirkland and Earl "The Goat" Manigault

This story has held my interest for so many years. Mainly because it shows how easily it is to fall victim to a life of crime. Pee Wee Kirkland is a legendary street ball player in New York. He ran with the best of them and even caught the attention of the NBA. In 1969, The Chicago Bulls even shown interest in signing him to play for them. But, a young Pee Wee Kirkland had other plans that pushed his goals and ambition to the back. At the time, Pee Wee Kirkland was attending Norfolk State College in Virgina. He was labeled the fastest man in college basketball by Sports Illustrated. Outside of school and basketball Kirkland led a very flashy lifestyle. He had the decision of a lifetime to make a decision that will change his life forever vice verse which side he chose. He could either play professional ball for the Bulls under the now former coach, Dick Motta or return to New York and become hood rich overnight. He chose New York. Sadly, in 1971 Pee Wee Kirkland was arrested on several criminal charges including tax evasion. He was convicted of conspiracy to selling narcotics and sent to The Lewisburg Federal Penitentiary. It was there that he will begin a 10 year sentence. He was released from prison in 1981. He then dedicated his life to preventing kids from being trapped in the belly of the beast. Check out below the story of Pee Wee Kirkland

Another street ball legend is Earl "The Goat" Manigault. He was said to be the king of his own generation of ballplayers. Due to a heroin addiction he never knew his incredible potential as a professional basketball player. He would bring fans to their feet during one on one competitions in New York City playgrounds. These one on one competitions would be against now professional athletes such as Connie Hawkins and Lew Alcindor whom will be later named Karim Abdul Jabbar. Still to this very day professional athletes sing praises of Earl. He openly admitted in The New York Times that he let thousands of people down. 
Earl was a frequent participant in the Harlem Ruckers Tournament which majority drew top level players. Meaning if you weren't good you probably didn't get to participate. His jumping abilities is what captivated a lot of people. He was a little over 6'9" and able to pick a quarter off of a backboard. He even won a sixty dollar bet from dunking backwards thirty-six times in a row. He was kicked out of school after being accused of smoking pot in the locker room. He then attended a prep school in North Carolina. As he continued to build a reputation for being an outstanding ball player in the playgrounds of Harlem, he received visits from recruiters after completing prep school. A lack of academic confidence and self-motivation led him to over look major colleges and attend John C.Smith University instead. He suffered in academics and was basically using street ball rules in college basketball and eventually less than a year he left college. He then hit rock bottom after returning home. He started using heroin and developed a $100 per day habit. Unable to keep a job, he resorted to thievery to support his habit. which included stealing mink coats from the garment district in New York. Meanwhile, his basketball skills were withering away. In the 1965 Ruckers Tournament he fell down twice because he was unable to keep his balance. By 1968, he completely stop visiting the parks that helped build his fame. He then entered many rehabilitation facilities but, was still unable to shake his habit. In 1969, he was arrested for drug possession. After serving 16 months he was granted with a try out with The Utah Stars. However, he didn't make it due to his addiction robbing him of his skills. By 1977, he was re-arrested for attempted robbery and sent back to prison for two years. Upon his release he fled to South Carolina with two of his sons and finally lived a clean and sober life. Due to congestive heart failure, Earl "The Goat" Manigault died in 1998. He will forever be a legend for many generations to follow.  Check out his interview below:
Thank you all so much for your constant support.  May you be blessed abundantly...Peace.......


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