Whose NBA career was better

NBA Legend Series - "Pistol Pete" Maravich: Of Androids and Obsession

Personal problems

Maravich's enigmatic nature certainly made a contribution to this. His life was determined by the search for meaning. Maravich joined various religions, believed in aliens - to draw UFOs' attention to himself, he wrote "Take Me" on his roof - and eventually succumbed to alcohol. He is even said to have approached important games while drunk.

When the injury problems increased and Maravich had to watch more and more because of his bad knees, the Jazz finally waiv him shortly after they moved from New Orleans to Salt Lake City.

Pete Maravich: Resigning at the Wrong Time?

Still, Maravich almost crowned his career. With the Boston Celtics he was a bench player in the Conference Finals in 1980. But Julius Erving's Sixers were too strong. Boston dropped out, Maravich retired, adding another bitter chapter to his career. Finally, the Celtics won the championship the following year, Pistol Pete, however, remained unfinished.

There is hardly a word that reflects Maravich's career so aptly. So he gave the Knicks for their premium defender Walt Frazier an unbelievable 68 points, only to have to leave the field shortly before the end with six sometimes questionable fouls. The Tigers lost their 69-point college gala to Alabama 104-106. It often followed this pattern. Time and again, great individual achievements were clouded by external or internal circumstances.

And yet, Peter Press Maravich goes down in history as one of the best players the NBA has ever seen. He was inducted into the circle of the Top 50 Players of All Time and inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1987.

Role model for the Showtime Lakers

Few could or can overheat like Maravich did. His ball handling has seldom been achieved to this day, his style of play serves as inspiration across generations. "Pistol was a big influence on me," says Isiah Thomas, for example. "I've tried many times to copy his moves. He did things on the court that some can't do today."

Magic Johnson, leader of the Showtime Lakers, once admitted that Maravich was "the real Showtime". It is impossible to imagine what would have been possible for Maravich had the triple line not only been introduced during his final season.

If he had previously indicated that the throw from distance could have been a tried and tested Maravichian offensive stylistic device, he gave the proof again shortly before the end of his career. He converted 10 of 15 of these then newly introduced threesomes during the 1979/80 season. Pistol Pete's career rate is 67 percent. At his sporting zenith he would probably not have been defensible.

Pete Maravich's career stats

teamGamesPointsFG%Assists
Atlanta Hawks30224,344,85,6
New Orleans / Utah Jazz33025,243,45,6
Boston Celtics2611,549,41,1

Pete Maravich: Tragic Death

Maravich's life was like a pendulum that could swing in one direction at any time. Exhilaration and success on the one hand, deep sadness, insecurity and failure on the other. Even the events surrounding his tragic death somehow followed this particular pattern.

In January 1988, after years of wandering, Pistol Pete had finally found his inner peace, he took part in a pick-up game. "I feel great," he said during a break, collapsed a little later and died.

The doctors posthumously diagnosed a heart defect. Maravich had only one cardiac artery. Patients with such a diagnosis rarely see their twenties, Pistol Pete has been involved in high-performance sports for much of his life.

Pete Maravich was special. He was different. In almost every way. Almost perfect basketball player and fragile Enigma at the same time. And it brought color to the dreary black and white of basketball in the sixties.