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Pete Maravich
Pete Maravich from his days at LSU, taken from Fox Sports
Position(s) Guard
Jersey #(s) 44, 7, 23
Listed height 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)
Listed weight 200 lb (91 kg)
Born June 22, 1947(1947-06-22)
Aliquippa, Pennsylvania
Died January 5, 1988 (aged 40)
Pasadena, California
Career information
Year(s) 1970–1980
NBA Draft 1970 / Round: 1 / Pick: 3
College LSU
Professional team(s)
Career stats (NBA)
Points     15,948
PPG     24.2
Assists     3,563
Stats @
Career highlights and awards
Basketball Hall of Fame as player

Peter Press Maravich, born on June 22, 1947, died January 5, 1988, nicknamed "Pistol Pete", was an American basketball player. Born and raised in Pennsylvania, Maravich starred in college at Louisiana State University (LSU) and for three NBA teams. He is still the all-time leading NCAA Division I scorer with 3,667 points scored and an average of 44.2 points per game.[1] Maravich died suddenly at age 40 during a pick-up game as a consequence of a previously undetected congenital heart defect. One of the youngest players ever inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, Maravich was cited by the Hall as "perhaps the greatest creative offensive talent in history".[1]


Early life

Pete Maravich, of Serbian descent, was born in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, a small steel town in the Pittsburgh metropolitan area. Maravich amazed his family and friends with his basketball abilities from an early age. His father, Press Maravich, a former professional player-turned-coach, showed Maravich the fundamentals starting when he was seven years old. Obsessively, Maravich spent hours practicing ball control tricks, passes, head fakes, and long range shots.

Maravich got his nickname "Pistol" in high school. He would shoot the ball from the side like he was holding a pistol. Maravich attended and played basketball at Daniel High School in Central, South Carolina from 1961 to 1963 while his father was the head basketball coach at Clemson University. While at Daniel, Maravich participated in the school's first ever game against a team from an all-black school. In 1963, his father joined the coaching staff at North Carolina State, and the family moved to Raleigh, North Carolina, where Pete attended and played for Needham B. Broughton High School.[2]

Playing Career


While Maravich would tell friends later in life he always desired to play basketball for West Virginia University and was all set to be a Mountaineer, his father was the varsity coach at LSU and his father offered the "Pistol" a spot at LSU. In his first game on the LSU freshman team Maravich put up 50 points, 14 rebounds, and 11 assists against Southeastern Louisiana College.[3]

In only three years playing for his father at LSU, Maravich scored 3,667 points — 1,138 points in 1968, 1,148 points in 1969 and 1,381 points in 1970 while averaging 43.8, 44.2 and 44.5 points per game. In his collegiate career, the 6' 5" (1.96 m) guard averaged an incredible 44.2 points per game in 83 contests and led the NCAA in scoring in each of his three seasons.[4]

Maravich's longstanding collegiate scoring record is particularly impressive when two other factors are taken into account. First, Maravich's played before the advent of three-point line. His long-distance shooting skill thus produced far fewer points than would have been the case in a later era. Years later former LSU head basketball coach Dale Brown charted every college game Maravich played, taking into consideration all shots he took. Brown calculated that at the NCAA rule of a three-point line at 19-foot (5.8 m), 9-inches from the rim, Maravich would have averaged thirteen 3-point scores per game, lifting the player's career average to 57 points per game.[5] Second, NCAA rules at the time of Maravich's collegiate career prohibited freshmen from taking place in varsity competition, preventing Maravich from adding to his career record for a full quarter of his time at LSU. During this first year, Maravich scored 741 points in freshmen competition.

More than 35 years later, many of his NCAA and LSU records still stand. Maravich was a three-time All-American. Though he never appeared in the NCAA tournament, Maravich played a key role in turning around a lackluster program that had posted a 3-20 record in the season prior to his arrival.


After graduating from LSU in 1970, Maravich was the third selection in the first round of that year's NBA player draft[6] and made league history when he signed a $1.9 million contract — one of the highest salaries at the time — with the Atlanta Hawks. He wasted little time becoming a prime time player by averaging 23.2 points per game his rookie season and being named to the NBA All-Rookie Team. After spending four seasons in Atlanta, Maravich was traded to the New Orleans Jazz for 8 players, where he peaked as an NBA showman and superstar. He made the All-NBA First Team in 1976 and 1977 and the All-NBA Second Team in 1973 and 1978. He led the NBA in scoring in the 1976-77 season with 31.1 points per game. Prior to the 1979-80 season, Maravich moved with the team to Utah. He was waived by the Jazz on January 18, 1980 and was quickly picked up by the Boston Celtics where he played the rest of the season alongside Larry Bird.[7]

A leg injury suffered during the 1977-78 NBA season ultimately prompted his retirement two years later in 1980. Pete Maravich was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in May 1987. At age 39, he was one of the youngest players ever inducted.

Later life and death

After the injury forced him to leave basketball in the fall of 1980, Maravich became a recluse for two years. Through it all, Maravich said he was searching "for life." He tried the practices of yoga and Hinduism, read Trappist monk Thomas Merton's The Seven Storey Mountain and took an interest in the field of ufology, the study of unidentified flying objects. He also explored vegetarianism and macrobiotics. Eventually, he embraced evangelical Christianity. A few years before his death, Maravich said, "I want to be remembered as a Christian, a person that serves Him to the utmost. Not as a basketball player."[8]

On January 5, 1988, Pete Maravich collapsed and died, at age 40, of a heart attack[9] while playing in a pickup basketball game in the gym at the First Church of the Nazarene in Pasadena with a group that included Focus on the Family head James Dobson. (Maravich had flown out from his home in Louisiana to tape a segment for Dobson's radio show that aired later that day.) Dobson has said that his last words, less than a minute before he died, were "I feel great." An autopsy revealed the cause of death to be a rare congenital defect; he had been born with a missing left coronary artery, a vessel which supplies blood to the muscle fibers of the heart. His right coronary artery was grossly enlarged and had been compensating for the defect.[10]

"He'll be remembered always", former LSU head basketball coach Dale Brown said on hearing the news of Maravich's death.

At the age of 25, Maravich had told Pennsylvania reporter, Andy Nuzzo, "I don't want to play 10 years in the NBA and then die of a heart attack at 40."[11][12]

Maravich is buried at Resthaven Gardens of Memory and Mausoleum in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.


In addition to his wife, Jackie, Pete Maravich was survived by his two sons Jaeson, who was 8 years old, and Josh, aged 5. At home, Pete Maravich would take his sons up to the third floor of their home where they would perform the dribbling and shooting drills Pete had learned from his father. Only the previous year, Pete had taken Jaeson to the 1987 NBA All-Star Game in Seattle, Washington and introduced him to Michael Jordan.

Since Maravich's children were very young when he died, Jackie Maravich initially shielded them from unwanted media attention, even not allowing Jaeson and Josh to attend their father's funeral.[13] However, a proclivity to basketball seemed to be an inherited trait. During a 2003 interview, Jaeson told USA Today that, when he was still only a toddler, "My dad passed me a (Nerf) basketball, and I've been hooked ever since...My dad said I shot and missed, and I got mad and I kept shooting. He said his dad told him he did the same thing." [14] Despite some setbacks coping with their father's death and without the benefit his tutelage might have provided, each eventually was inspired to play high school and collegiate basketball, Josh at his father's alma mater, LSU. [14] As of 2008, both men had also signed to play professional basketball with the Santa Barbara Breakers (West Coast Basketball League).[15][16]

Honors, books and films

  • After Maravich's death, Louisiana Governor Buddy Roemer signed a proclamation officially renaming the LSU home court the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
  • In 1991, a biographical film dramatizing his 8th grade season entitled, The Pistol: The Birth of a Legend, was released.[17]
  • In 1996, he was named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History by a panel made up of NBA historians, and coaches. He was the only deceased player on the list. At the 1997 All-Star Game at halftime in Cleveland, he was represented by his two sons.
  • In 2001, a comprehensive 90-minute documentary film debuted on CBS entitled, Pistol Pete: The Life and Times of Pete Maravich.
  • In 2005, ESPNU named Maravich the greatest college basketball player of all-time.
  • In 2007, two biographies of Maravich were released:

Video game depictions

Awards and records


  • The Sporting News College Player of the Year (1970)
  • USBWA College Player of the Year (1969, 1970)
  • Naismith Award Winner (1970)
  • The Sporting News All-America First Team (1968, 1969, 1970)
  • Three-time AP and UPI First-Team All-America (1968, 1969, 1970)
  • Holds NCAA career record for most points (3,667, 44.2 ppg, three-year career) in 83 games
  • Holds NCAA career record for highest points per game average (44.2 ppg)
  • Holds NCAA record for most field goals made (1,387) and attempted (3,166)
  • Holds NCAA record for most games scoring at least 50 points (28)
  • Holds NCAA single-season record for most points (1,381) and highest per game average (44.5 ppg) in 1970
  • Holds NCAA single-season record for most field goals made (522) and attempted (1,168) in 1970
  • Holds NCAA single-season record for most games scoring at least 50 points (10) in 1970
  • Shares NCAA single-game record for most free throws made (30 of 31) against Oregon State on Dec. 22, 1969 (With Ben Woodside ND State)
  • Led the NCAA Division I in scoring with 43.8 ppg (1968); 44.2 (1969) and 44.5 ppg (1970)
  • Averaged 43.6 ppg on the LSU freshman team (1967)
  • Scored a career-high 69 points vs. Alabama (Feb. 7, 1970); 66 vs. Tulane (Feb. 10, 1969); 64 vs. Kentucky (Feb. 21, 1970); 61 vs. Vanderbilt (Dec. 11, 1969);
  • Holds LSU records for most field goals in a game (26) against Vanderbilt on Jan. 29, 1969 and attempted (57) against Vanderbilt
  • All-Southeastern Conference (1968, 1969, 1970)
  • #23 Jersey retired by LSU (2007)
  • In 1970, Maravich led LSU to a 20-8 record and a third place finish in the NIT
Team Year Games Points PPG Rebounds RPG Assists APG
LSU 1966-67[18] 17 741 43.6
LSU 1967-68 26 1138 43.8 195 7.5 105 4.0
LSU 1968-69 26 1148 44.2 169 6.5 128 4.9
LSU 1969-70 31 1381 44.5 164 5.3 192 6.2
TOTALS 1967-70[19] 83 3667 44.2 528 6.4 425 5.1


  • NBA All-Rookie Team
  • All-NBA First Team (1976, 1977)
  • All-NBA Second Team (1973, 1978)
  • Five-time NBA All-Star (1973, 1974, 1977, 1978, 1979)
  • Scored 15,948 points (24.2 ppg) in 658 games
  • Top 16 scoring average NBA history (24.2)
  • Led the NBA in scoring (31.1 ppg) in 1977, his career best
  • Scored a career-high 68 points against the New York Knicks on Feb. 25, 1977
  • Shares NBA single-game record for most free throws made in one quarter (14) on Nov. 28, 1973 against Buffalo
  • Shares NBA single-game record for most free throws attempted in one quarter (16) on Jan. 2, 1973 against Chicago
  • #7 jersey retired by the Utah Jazz (1985)
  • #7 jersey retired by the Superdome (1988)
  • NBA 50th Anniversary All-Time Team (1996)
  • #7 jersey retired by the New Orleans Hornets (2002), even though he never played for them—one of only four players to have a number retired by a team they did not play for.

See also


  1. ^ "Peter P. "Pete" Maravich". Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2008-10-31. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ Federman, Wayne; Terrill, Marshall; Maravich, Jackie (2006). Maravich. p. 68. ISBN 1894963520. 
  4. ^ Rogers, Thomas. "Pete Maravich, a Hall of Famer Who Set Basketball Marks, Dies", The New York Times, January 6, 1988. Accessed June 14, 2009.
  5. ^ Levine, Les. "James' 55 were Pistol Pete-esque", The News-Herald (Ohio), February 22, 2009. Accessed June 14, 2009.
  6. ^ "1970 NBA Draft". Basketball Reference. Retrieved 2008-10-31. 
  7. ^ Deseret Morning News | 25 years later the Jazz are going strong
  8. ^ Federman, p. 367
  9. ^ New York Times, 1988/01/10: MARAVICH IS EULOGIZED
  10. ^ Pistol Pete 23
  11. ^ Federman, p. 224
  12. ^ Bob Carter. "Maravich's creative artistry dazzled" Accessed 06 February 2008
  13. ^
  14. ^ a b
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ - The Home of "The Pistol" on DVD
  18. ^ At this time, freshmen did not play on the varsity team and these stats do not count in the NCAA record books.
  19. ^ These stat totals do not include Maravich's freshman year stats.

Further reading

  • Berger, Phil (1999). Forever Showtime: The Checkered Life of Pistol Pete Maravich. Taylor Trade. ISBN 0-87833-237-5. 
  • Federman, Wayne and Terrill, Marshall (2007). Maravich. SportClassic Books. ISBN 1-894963-52-0. 
  • Federman, Wayne and Terrill, Marshall (2008). Pete Maravich: The Authorized Biography of Pistol Pete. Focus on the Family/Tyndale House Publishers. ISBN 1589975359. 
  • Gutman, Bill (1972). Pistol Pete Maravich: The making of a basketball superstar. Grosset & Dunlap. ISBN 0-448-01973-6. 
  • Kriegel, Mark (2007). Pistol: The Life of Pete Maravich. Free Press. ISBN 0743284976. 
  • Maravich, Pete and Campbell, Darrel (1987). Heir To A Dream. Nashville: Thomas Nelson. ISBN 0840776098. 
  • Towle, Mike (2000). I Remember Pete Maravich. Nashville: Cumberland House. ISBN 1-58182-148-4. 
  • Towle, Mike (2003). Pete Maravich: Magician of the Hardwood. Nashville: Cumberland House. ISBN 1-58182-374-6. 
  • Brown, Danny (2008).Shooting the Pistol: Courtside Photographs of Pete Maravich at LSU .Louisiana State University Press ISBN 978-0-8071-3327-9

External links

Preceded by
Lew Alcindor
Naismith College Player of the Year (men)
Succeeded by
Austin Carr
Preceded by
Ron Widby
SEC Men's Basketball Player of the Year
1968, 1969, 1970
Succeeded by
Johnny Neumann

Study guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiversity

Case study

Pete Maravich (1947-1988)

See also

Pete Maravich - Wikipedia article

Simple English

Pete Maravich (June 22, 1947 - January 5, 1988), also known as "Pistol Pete" Maravich, was an American basketball player. He played for Lousisana State University and averaged 44.2 points per game. That is the highest average ever in the history of college basketball. Then Maravich played for ten seasons in the NBA. He played for the Atlanta Hawks, New Orleans Jazz, Utah Jazz, and the Boston Celtics.

He was known for his great dribbling, passing and shooting abilitites. Maravich died on January 5,1988.

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