Miller, Packer, Ryan to Speak at Annie, Honoring Earl 'The Pearl' Monroe


Three men who watched Earl "the Pearl" Monroe play basketball at various stages of his career will help to honor Monroe, when he receives the Ann Spencer Sports Connector Award (The Annie), presented by the National Sports Media Association at Forsyth Country Club in Winston-Salem, N.C. on April 26.

John X. Miller

John X. Miller was a 12-year-old ballboy for the 1966-67 Winston-Salem State Teachers College (now Winston-Salem State University) team that was led by Monroe and went on to win the NCAA college division (now Division Two) national championship. Miller, after two and a-half years as managing editor of the Winston-Salem Journal, now serves as senior editor for news and commentary at, ESPN's website that examines race, culture and sports. Miller will deliver the keynote address.

Billy Packer

Billy Packer was an assistant coach at Wake Forest when Monroe played at Winston-Salem. He will reminisce about Monroe and some of his teammates playing games against his Demon Deacon players when Winston-Salem was still largely segregated. Packer went on to a career as a legendary college basketball analyst at Raycom, NBC and CBS, calling national championship games from 1975 to 2008. Packer was inducted into the NSMA in 2016.

Bob Ryan

As the Boston Celtics' beat writer and later a columnist for The Boston Globe, NSMA Hall of Famer (Class of 2012) Bob Ryan covered many of Monroe's NBA games. Ryan, who was the keynote speaker at the inaugural Annie dinner in 2018, will talk about what made Monroe's career special in the pro ranks -- a career that landed him in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame and named to the list of the NBA's 50 Greatest Players of its first 50 years.

Winston-Salem State University Chancellor, Dr. Elwood Robinson will introduce Monroe and join in the presentation of The Annie.

Annie tickets and table sponsorships are on sale now and may be purchased via check or credit card:

  • Spencer/Pollard Scholarship Table ($5,000)
  • Annie Table Sponsorship ($2,500)
  • Annie Premium Seating Ticket ($350)
  • Annie General Seating Ticket ($150)

Please make out checks to:


PO Box 5394

Winston-Salem, NC 27113

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