Earl Manigault

7 Sep 1944
15 May 1998
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Earl Manigault (September 7, 1944 – May 15, 1998) was an American street basketball player who was nicknamed “The Goat.”

Manigault was particularly famous for his leaping abilities on the basketball court. However much of his legend is unsupported playground myth, including his signature move – the double dunk. He allegedly would dunk the ball, catch it with his left hand, switch the ball to his right hand, bring it back around to the top of the basket and jam it through again, all done while still in the air on a single jump, and without hanging on the rim. .[3] However this is a story repeatedly told but unconfirmed. It was refuted by Manigault himself in a CNN interview available on YouTube when he called the reports of this feat rubbish, stating not even The Goat could do that. Like other street basketballers of the day such as Jackie Jackson, Earl was reportedly able to touch the top of the backboard to retrieve quarters and dollar bills, part of “elaborate innovations and tricks” elite street players of the era performed before games to help build their reputations.[4] Again, this has never been confirmed. Like the dunking myth,it is always referred to as “reportedly” without a credible source to support it. It is refuted in Todd Gallagher’s book ” Andy Roddick Beat Me With a Frying Pan.” The book dedicates an entire chapter to this myth concluding it was never done by Manigault or anyone else, including NBA stars.Gallagher writes ” Earl “The Goat” Manigault is widely regarded as one of the greatest playground basketball players of all time. Although he never played in the NBA and only briefly played in college, the legend of Manigault has spread far and wide and led to his play being glorified in magazines, books, and even a movie starring Don Cheadle called Rebound: The Legend of Earl “The Goat” Manigault. There are a number of tales regarding Manigault’s prowess, but the central story that propelled his legend was that he had such extraordinary leaping ability he could pull dollar bills off the top of the backboard and leave change. What made this even more amazing was that Manigault was, depending on who you talk to, somewhere between 5-11 and 6-1. Considering that the top of the backboard is at thirteen feet and the average six-foot-tall man can only touch about eight feet high standing flat-footed, Manigault would have had to jump at least sixty inches to even come close. He was only 6′ 1″, but attributed his tremendous jumping ability to having in childhood often worn ankle weights during practice. (Such efficacy of ankle weights is doubtful, however.) He once dunked two-handed during a game from near the foul line over two players much taller than himself . He once reverse dunked 36 times in a row to win a $60 bet.

Manigault died from congestive heart failure in 1998 at Bellevue Hospital Center in New York City.

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