Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Never Mets:Pete Maravich

Another in a series of celebs I wanted to meet, but never did.

Pete Maravich was one of the flashiest, most exciting basketball players ever. Maravich's father Press taught him at an early age. Maravich's practice sessions are legendary. Pete attended LSU, which was coached by the elder Maravich.
At LSU, Maravich averaged 44.2 points per game, leading the NCAA in scoring 3 straight years, while twice being named College Player of the Year. Upon entering the NBA, Maravich did not slow down. He was named to the All-Rookie team in 1971 and was a 5 time NBA All-Star during his 10 year career. In 1987, he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. He was named to the NBA's 50th Anniversary All-Time team and had his jersey retired by the Utah Jazz (formerly of New Orleans), the New Orleans Hornets (although he never played for them) and the Louisiana SuperDome.
As great as he was, I believe Maravich did not get the credit he deserved. He played in the pre-3 point era and the pre-ESPN era. Many of his shots were deep enough to be 3's and many of his moves were magical enough to be highlights on ESPN. Unfortunately, neither existed and Maravich is often considered to have been ahead of the times.
Late in 1987, I sent a few cards to Maravich, hoping he would sign one. On January 5, 1988, I received all 4 cards signed, along with a short note written by Pistol Pete on his wife's stationary. How do I possibly remember the date? Just hours after opening the envelope which contained those signed cards, I was eating dinner with my family and watching tv. The sportscaster came on and sadly announced that Pete Maravich had died while playing in a pick-up game of basketball.
I was both saddened by his untimely and premature death at the age of 40 and shocked by the fact that I had just received his autograph earlier that day. I definitely had some of the last autographs that Maravich ever signed.
Pete Maravich's signed 1977-78 Topps card (one of his last autographs).

1 comment:

Rod said...

there is an autograph I would love to have. I never got around to sending anything to him, I thought he would be around for awhile.