As a longtime follower of professional sports, I have always been fascinated by players who are not only talented, but also different. They bring a certain quality or quirk to their game that is unprecedented. It gives them a competitive advantage -- and leaves an indelible mark on their sport, sometimes changing it forever. One example is Earl "The Pearl" Monroe, a guard for the NBA's Baltimore Bullets (now Washington Wizards) and New York Knicks who played in the 1960s ...

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