Books similar to Pistol: The Life of Pete Maravich
Pickup game with legend ended with a tragic death
Nobody knew it that morning, but Maravich had died of deterioration of the tissues in his heart because he had been born without one of the two artery systems that supply the heart with blood. Moline and Hancock, part of a group that regularly played three mornings a week at the church gym, had anticipated a memorable experience, but not like this. Neither he nor Hancock had ever met Maravich, who lived in Louisiana. Nor had the man who invited Maravich to play with them, Dr. James Dobson, founder of the nationally known ministry Focus on the Family and unofficial organizer of the Monday-Wednesday-Friday pickup games at Parker Gym. Maravich, who would have turned 60 this Friday, was one of the most spectacular players in basketball history, of course, and an iconic figure to boot, seemingly as recognizable for his floppy socks and shaggy black hair as his extraordinary skills.
In a family that loved basketball, Pistol Pete eventually was bound to come up in discussions, but it wouldn't be until I got older that I really began to appreciate what he did for the game. Think about some of the flashiest players in basketball. Think back a bit to the Showtime Lakers, to the running style and the pizzaz that team brought, led by the legendary Magic Johnson. Think about a guy like Manu Ginobili, with all his twisting, between-the-legs, or behind-the-back passes. Think about a guy like Kobe Bryant, with all his flare, his amazing ability to get to the basket, to shoot from almost anywhere. Got all that in your head? Good, because it still doesn't really encompass what Pistol Pete was capable of on the court.
Celebrated as few college athletes had ever been, on going pro he became one of the richest athletes in the world. Though he perhaps failed to live up to his astonishing potential, in the NBA named him one of the 50 greatest players of its first 50 years. He was the only one so honored who did not survive to see the ceremony, having died of massive heart failure nine years earlier at The proximate cause of death was a rare, previously undiagnosed heart defect, but as Mark Kriegel makes abundantly clear in his compelling biography, Pistol , Maravich lived not only exceedingly hard—even by pro athlete standards—but also in almost unrelenting psychic torment. Surely the anguish and self-loathing were in part genetic: his mother, also long beset by depression and like Pete an alcoholic, killed herself at the height of his NBA stardom. Press turned his son into a national sensation, urging him to shoot at will and otherwise showcase his array of otherworldly moves for the delight of spectators and, more important, the media. The irony is that in turning his son into Pistol Pete, Press Maravich destroyed himself as a coach.
On the morning of January 5, , Pete Maravich was casually competing in a friendly game of half-court basketball in a church gymnasium in Pasadena, California. It would be his last moment on Earth. He collapsed and never regained consciousness.
a moment of innocence online
Considered to be one of the first true great showmen of NBA basketball, Maravich truly revolutionized the game in more ways than one. He got his nickname because of the unique way he shot, akin to a gunman whipping out a pistol from his holster. Behind his trademark mop-like hairstyle, floppy socks and usually stoic facade, the Pistol was a whirling dervish on the hardwood—running the fastbreak, dishing out an underhand pass from the opposite court to a wide-open teammate and contorting himself in mid-air for a bucket which left taller and bigger opponents in awe. For his NBA career, he averaged He never shot below 80 percent from the free-throw line. We tried to describe him but couldn't express the experience of watching someone play on a completely different plane from everybody else. He made impossible shots look easy.
Star Comparison Magic Johnson vs. Pete Maravich. Who scored more points in his career? Who averaged more points in playoffs? Who won more championships? Who led the season more times?