“Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.”
As a young athlete most of us will assign a professional athlete the title of “HERO.” I don’t even know when I first was told about Pete “Pistol” Maravich. But when I heard about his accomplishments and training, I knew that he was the basketball player that I wanted to be like. Pete was the Michael Jordan of basketball before Michael Jordan was a big name. With his slender frame and slouchy socks Pete became an athlete that was also coached by his father Press Maravich.
He ate, slept and breathed his sport with dedication that very few know. He always had a basketball with him practicing his ball handling skills everywhere he went. In the movie, The Pistol: Birth of a Legend, it describes his training methods and accurately portrays the dedication to the sport. In the days that he played both college and the NBA the 3-point line had not taken effect in the sport. Had there been there’s no telling how many records would stand alone even today.
His ball handling skills still amaze the childish athlete in me that wishes he still was alive. Though even as a great player Pete was a very private man. At the age of 35, Pete became a born-again Christian which he proudly acknowledged. But suddenly at the age of 44 in 1988 Pete would die, playing a pickup game of basketball from an undetected heart defect. Pete has become to be known as the best ball handler of all time. And while I was still playing high school basketball, I would always watch a movie about him or articles on the internet (dial up) to give me that little motivation I needed to propel me with the right attitude and centerness throughout the season. Of course, I had to read quick because if anyone called the house phone, I’d get kicked off the internet.
When I was in my undergraduate work at William Carey University, Jaeson Marravich, Pete’s son, came to play for the school. The moment I saw him and his resemblance and ball handling style of him my eyes filled with tears. On his left his upper arm where he proudly wears a tattoo that says The Pistol. I still get chills from that moment. And at the time I was looking for something positive to help me keep going since I was still in an abusive marriage.
But of course, the other great moment only 2nd to seeing and meeting Jaeson, was attending my first ever basketball game at LSU’s Pete Maravich Center, in Baton Rouge, LA where his father coached him the four years he played. Inside the coliseum has pictures of Pete and displays of his records both in college and the NBA. It would also be the day that I stood side-by-side with Shaquille O’Neal with my height measuring to his waist as he ran out the tunnel. What a big guy he really is!
This is the link to the movie The Pistol: The Birth of a Legend.