Book-Signing at Barnes and Noble:PISTOL”The Life of Pete Maravich”, by Mark Kriegel

There was a good crowd on hand Monday night at the Barnes and Noble bookstore over at the Friendly Shopping Center.  The crowd had gathered together to hear Mark Kriegel speak and to read from his book, Pistol, “The Life of Pete Maravich”.

Good book, good reading.  There were a ton of questions coming from the crowd and the book seems to be as much about Pete’s dad Press Maravich, as it is about the Pistol.  Pete was Showtime before there was any Showtime and Kriegel chronicles Pete’s early days as a kid while his dad was the coach at Clemson and then on to Raleigh and the days at N.C. State while Pete was playing high school ball for Raleigh Broughton.

Pistol Pete Maravich played in the East-West High School All-Star game at the Greensboro Coliseum and scored 42 points in the basketball game, still a single-game record.  Pete went on to play at LSU because he couldn’t make the required 800 on the SAT’s an ACC requirement at that time back in the ealry 70’s.  Pete would have played at N.C. State but he and his dad Press went to LSU as a package deal, Press the coach, Pete the star player.

Pete wanted to play at West Virginia and be like Jerry West but Press had to have a coaching job and LSU was the best offer.  Press Maravich had a vision that Pistol Pete would be the first-ever Million Dollar Man in the NBA and Press Maravich created and made Pete the player he was.  Once during a game in the SEC with LSU vs. Georgia, Pete scored something like 59 points and LSU won out over the Bulldogs in OT and the Georgia fans fell in love with Pistol Pete and they carried him off the court on their shoulders after the game.  The opposing team carried him away after they got so caught up into his showtime display.  They loved Pete more than their own team.

Pete Maravich got drafted by the Atlanta Hawks and later played for the Boston Celtics.  Pete was also courted by the Carolina Cougars but they couldn’t afford his Million Dollar salary.  The owner of the Hawks, Tom Cousins, drafted and signed Maravich so he could get a new arena built downtown, therefore the Maravich move was strictly a business decision by Cousins to build the Omini in Atlanta.  Big-name player, got to have a big-time building.

Pete could spin basketballs on his fingers, throw behind-the- back passes, behind-the-head passes, put up hook shots from the doorway of the gym and they all would go in the basket.  Pete would practice 8-10 hours a day and once hit 179 free throws in a row in a practice and finally missed on purpose so the team could go home.  Ironically, Pete died while playing in a pick-up basketball game at his church.  He was in his early 40’s and he left quite a legacy.    

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