Saturday

NBA Athlete Number 7 - "Pistol" Pete Maravich

The Pistol: The Birth of a Legend [Inspirational Edition]Okay, this one may be a bit controversial. Now, there are quite a few choices for the best to wear number 7 in the NBA. This is including famed dunker Dee Brown, longtime Sun setup man Kevin Johnson, Jermaine O'Neal and Lamar Odom to name a few. But.....Pistol Pete, even though he didn't wear number 7 for his entire NBA career was one of the best to ever pick up a basketball.

Maravich was first drafted by the Atlanta Hawks with the third overall pick in the 1970 NBA draft. Wearing number 44 for the Hawks, which was said to be worn for the number of points he averaged in college - a record which may never be broken, Maravich proved himself a professional offensive threat immediately, scoring 1,880 points and assisting on 355 more baskets as a rookie. He would be a Hawk through the 1973-74 season, when he was traded to the New Orleans Jazz.

Maravich stuck with number 44 for the then aptly named Jazz, but his first season with that franchise was not his most productive as a scorer, as he notched a still very respectable 1700 points. He did dish the rock to his teammates quite a bit in his first year in the purple and gold, racking up 488 assists.

It is said in the book Pistol: The Life of Pete Maravich by Mark Kriegel, that Maravich had been working out quite a bit after his first year in New Orleans and "with his new physique came a new look.  Finally, he had given up the floppy socks and the number 44, too.  He now wore number 7 and took the floor clean-shaven."  Pete was limited to 62 games that following season, but his field goal shooting percentage went up to .459, the highest mark of his pro career to that date.

McFarlane Toys NBA Sports Picks Legends Series 1 Action Figure Pete Maravich (New Orleans Jazz)That next, third, season in New Orleans would be a high-water mark for Pistol's production offensively.  He would lead the NBA in both free-throws, with 501, and points, with 2,273.  He would remain with the Jazz in New Orleans through the 1978-79 season, and would spend 17 games in Utah as a member of the Jazz, before being let go and picked up by the Celtics.

Pete would end his career, early it is said, due to injuries, as a member of the Celtics, playing in 26 regular season games for them as well as 9 in the playoffs, shooting .490 for Boston in the post-season.

Did you know..............Pete Maravich was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame at the age of 39?

For more Pete Maravich pro statistics go to basketball-reference.com.

sources: wikipedia and basketball-reference.com

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