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Pete Maravich

From Academic Kids

Pete Maravich (June 22, 1947 - January 5, 1988), known in the basketball world as "Pistol Pete", was a legendary player who starred in college and for three NBA teams.

Born in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania of Serbian descent, Pete had seemed to marvel his family and friends with his basketball ability since he was young. His father Press Maravich, former player turned coach, showed Pete the fundamentals starting at age 7. Pete would spend hours practicing ball control tricks, passes, head fakes, and long range shots. He decided on the guard position, the only position he would ever play.

He attended three high schools as a teen: Daniel High School in Clemson, South Carolina, Needham Broughton in Raleigh, North Carolina, and Edward Military Institute in Salemburg, North Carolina. During his years at those schools, he wowed college scouts with his ability to play his favorite sport. And so, in 1966, Pete decided to attend Louisiana State University, where his father was head basketball coach. This is where he, along with his trademark floppy gray socks, became legendary.

He scored a record 3,667 points for his career at LSU, which lasted from 1967-1970, and averaged 44.2 points per game for his career, also a record. His records are even more remarkable for two reasons: First, in Maravich's time, freshmen were ineligible for varsity sports - meaning that he only had three years to compile his career point totals instead of the four years today's college players have. Second, he played more than 15 years before the NCAA instituted the three-point field goal. Many of his outside shots would be three-pointers today.

Maravich was named The Sporting News' player of the year in 1970. He scored a personal record of 69 points versus Alabama during a game that year, and garnered numerous other awards and college records. He graduated from LSU in 1970, but the respect he garnered among many of Louisiana's basketball fans would bring him back to that state soon.

In November of 1970, Maravich started his NBA career with the Atlanta Hawks. After four years there, he was back in Louisiana upon being traded to the New Orleans Jazz. Many say that he had his best years in the NBA as a player while in New Orleans. In the 1979-80 season the Jazz became the Utah Jazz, and Maravich was soon traded to the Boston Celtics, where he played for one season alongside Larry Bird before retiring.

In 1982 Pete Maravich "found religion" and became a motivational speaker, incorporating Christian faith into his message. He enjoyed the life of a retired basketball player.

Maravich was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1987.

On January 5, 1988, while playing a pickup basketball game with a group that included Focus on the Family head James Dobson (Maravich was scheduled to appear on Dobson's radio show later that day), he collapsed and died of a heart attack at the age of only 40. An autopsy revealed that his death was due to a previously undiagnosed congenital heart defect; he had been born with only one coronary artery instead of the normal two. After Maravich's death, Louisiana Governor Buddy Roemer signed a proclamation officially naming the LSU home court the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

Maravich was a 24.4 points per game scorer in his NBA career, scoring 15,948 points in 688 games. He scored 68 points in one game versus the New York Knicks and shares the record for most free throws made in a quarter with 14. He was a 5-time All-Star, and led the league in points in 1977 when he scored 31.1 points a game. In 1996, he was named one of the 50 greatest NBA players in history by a panel made up of NBA historians, former players and coaches. His widow and their two sons accepted the honor in his place.

In 1991, a biographical movie about him, Pistol Pete, was produced in Hollywood.

Pistol Pete also came out with Pistol Pete's Homework Basketball video series. The series contains four different videos, one on passing, ball-handling, shooting, and dribbling. The videos are meant for people of all ages who want to learn the great skills and drills that made him one of the best basketball players of all time.

External links

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