With the NBA all-star weekend being held in New Orleans, much is being written about the Louisiana’s greatest basketball player ever.
Known simply by one name, Pistol, the late Pete Maravich still entertains basketball fans who fawn over his dazzling shooting, ball handling and passing skills on You Tube highlight reels.
In addition to the splendid piece Name of the Father written yesterday by Shaun Powell in Sports on Earth, allow me to share an excerpt from my book NCAA Basketball Favorites about college basketball’s all-time leader scorer Pistol Pete Maravich.
Like a deadly marksman, he easily shoots his way into the #2 spot in NCAA Basketball Favorites.
Peter Press Maravich, or Pistol Pete, died young in 1988. Amazingly, it’s been more than thirty years since he last laced ‘em up on the hardwood. However, Pete’s college basketball success and flair for the game made him an unforgettable NCAA legend.
Even today, his flashy dribbling, passing and uncanny shot-making ability continue to rack up views on YouTube and spur debates among knowledgeable basketball fans.
No one knows the source of Maravich’s nickname, but what is certain is that the 6’5” and 200 lb. guard electrified college basketball in the late 1960s. Forty years later, Pistol Pete’s staggering personal statistics still cause a buzz of disbelief whenever they’re discussed.
In just three seasons at Louisiana State University, Maravich scored a NCAA record 3,667 points in only 83 total games. In all likelihood, this record will never be broken.
What is more startling is that Pistol Pete accomplished his amazing 44.2 ppg average in just three years. That’s before the NCAA instituted the three point line and allowed freshman to play on the varsity.
At LSU, Pistol Pete played for Press Maravich, his strong willed father. Press encouraged his son to shoot – or pull the trigger – whenever he thought he was open.
A Louisiana sportswriter claims responsibility for coining the nickname Pistol Pete because of Maravich’s unconscious, rapid fire shot selection. Others link Maravich’s nickname to his high school days when his shot release reminded them of un-holstering a pistol.
The Atlanta Hawks selected Maravich as their number one pick in the 1970 NBA Draft. At the time, they made him the highest paid athlete ever when signing him to a three year $1.9M contract. Pistol’s 23.2 ppg got him named to the NBA All-Rookie Team.
Maravich enjoyed an impressive individual professional career by posting 24.2 ppg, 4.2 rpg and 5.4 apg in 10 NBA campaigns.
He made five all star teams, was elected All-NBA First team twice and led the league in scoring in 1977 with 31.1 ppg.
Surprisingly, Pistol Pete’s only playoff appearance came with the Boston Celtics in an injury riddled season in 1980.
At age 37, Pete Maravich was named the youngest inductee into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame. If he still played today, Maravich’s long range shot-making ability and flashy passing and dribbling would regularly make ESPN Sports Center highlights.
This guard’s amazing college basketball career at LSU will never be duplicated.
With an astonishing 44.2 ppg college career average, Maravich proved that when shooting the basketball, this Pistol was an accomplished marksman. He always seemed to find his target.
MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!