Peter Press Maravich (June 22, 1947 – January 5, 1988) was an American Basketball player. Maravich starred in college at Louisiana State University (LSU) and for three NBA teams. He is still the all-time leading NCAA Division I scorer with 3,667 points scored and an average of 44.2 points per game. He accomplished this without the benefit of a three-point line and despite the fact that NCAA rules prohibited him from playing on the varsity team as a freshmen.

Years later former LSU head basketball coach Dale Brown charted every college game Maravich played, taking into consideration all shots he took. The coach calculated that at the NCAA rule of a three-point line at 19-foot, 9-inches from the rim, Maravich would have averaged thirteen 3-point scores per game, which would have given the player a career average of 57 points per game.

Early lifeEdit

Maravich was born in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, a small steel town in the Pittsburgh metropolitan area. Maravich amazed his family and friends with his basketball abilities from an early age. His father Press Maravich, a former professional player turned coach, showed Maravich the fundamentals starting when he was seven years old. Maravich would obsessively spend hours practicing ball control tricks, passes, head fakes, and long range shots. The elder Maravich required his son to make 100 shots from the free throw line in their driveway every night after supper before he would be allowed to go to bed. Maravich claimed he often made 99 straight before deliberately missing the next several shots just so he could continue playing ball outside. Maravich's father claims that at the age of 13 the younger Maravich once succeeded in making 500 consecutive free throws one evening after school, stopping only when it became too dark to see the rim, illuminated only by the elder Maravich's flashlight.

Maravich got his nickname "Pistol" in high school. He would shoot the ball from the side like he was holding a pistol. Since he wasn't strong enough to shoot it from the front someone from a newspaper said "He shoots like he's holding a pistol." Maravich attended and played basketball at Daniel High School in Central, South Carolina from 1961-1963. While at Daniel, Maravich participated in the school's first ever game against a team from an all-black school. In 1963, the family moved to Raleigh, North Carolina where he attended and played for Needham B. Broughton High School.


In his first game on the freshman team Maravich put up 50 points, 14 rebounds, and 11 assists against Southeastern Louisiana College.

In only three years playing for his father at LSU, Maravich scored 3,667 points — 1,138 points in 1968, 1,148 points in 1969 and 1,381 points in 1970 while averaging 43.8, 44.2 and 44.5 points per game. In the process, "Pistol Pete" set 11 NCAA and 34 Southeastern Conference records, as well as every LSU record in points scored, scoring average, field goals attempted and made, and free throws attempted and made, and assists. In his collegiate career, the 6' 5" (1.96 m) guard averaged an incredible 44.2 points per game in 83 contests and led the NCAA in scoring three times. Maravich made an average of 13 shots a game from what is now the three-point line; if the three-point line had existed when he played, he would have averaged 57 points a game. He also set an NCAA record by scoring more than 50 points 28 times. He was named a three-time All-American and still holds many of these records, more than 35 years later. Notably, his 3,667 points don't factor in the 741 he scored his freshman year, or the fact that they played without the three-point line.

Maravich was a three time first team All-American and was named The Sporting News' player of the year in 1970, and received the USBWA College Player of the Year and Naismith Award as well. He scored a personal record of 69 points versus Alabama during a game that year, and garnered numerous other awards and college records. Pete Maravich was classified as one of the greatest players in college basketball history who never played in the NCAA tournament.

Maravich shone on the court and LSU slowly turned around a lackluster program. The year before he arrived, the varsity posted a 3-20 record. In Maravich's senior season, LSU was 20-8 and participated in the NIT, where they were defeated by Marquette 101-79 in the semi-finals. Maravich was also a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon while at LSU.


After graduating from LSU in 1970, Maravich was the third selection in the first round of that year's NBA player draft and made league history when he signed a $1.6 million contract — one of the highest salaries at the time — with the Atlanta Hawks. He wasted little time becoming a prime time player by averaging 23.2 points per game his rookie season and being named to the NBA All-Rookie Team. After spending four seasons in Atlanta, Maravich was traded to the New Orleans Jazz for 8 players, where he peaked as an NBA showman and superstar. He made the All-NBA First Team in 1976 and 1977 and the All-NBA Second Team in 1973 and 1978. He led the NBA in scoring in the 1976-77 with 31.1 points per game. Prior to the 1979-80 season, Maravich moved with the team to Utah. He was waived by the Jazz on January 18, 1980 and was quickly picked up by the Boston Celtics where he played the rest of the season alongside Larry Bird. Maravich retired in the fall of 1980.

In ten NBA seasons, Maravich, a five time NBA All-Star, scored 15,948 points in 658 games for a 24.2 points per game average (16th All Time). His NBA single game high, a 68-point explosion before fouling out, came against the New York Knicks on February 25, 1977.

Later life and deathEdit

A leg injury during the 1977-78 NBA season started the downward spiral into Alcoholism, and signaled the decline of his career. After the injury forced him to leave basketball in the fall of 1980, Maravich became a recluse for two years. Through it all, Maravich said he was searching "for life." He tried the practices of yoga and Hinduism, read Trappist monk Thomas Merton's The Seven Storey Mountain and took an interest in the field of ufology, the study of unidentified flying objects. He also explored vegetarianism and macrobiotics. In 1982, he became a Christian and began traveling the country sharing his new found faith in Jesus Christ.

A few years prior to his death, Maravich said, "I want to be remembered as a Christian, a person that serves Him to the utmost. Not as a basketball player."

On January 5, 1988, Pete Maravich collapsed and died, at age 40, of a heart attack just after playing in a pickup basketball game in the gym at the First Church of the Nazarene in Pasadena with a group that included Focus on the Family head James Dobson. (Maravich had flown out from his home in Louisiana to tape a segment for Dobson's radio show later that day.) Dobson has said that his last words, less than a minute before he died, were "I feel great." An autopsy revealed the cause of death to be a rare congenital defect; he had been born with a missing left coronary artery, a vessel which supplies blood to the muscle fibers of the heart. His right coronary artery was grossly enlarged and had been compensating for the defect.

"He'll be remembered always", former LSU head basketball coach Dale Brown said on hearing the news of Maravich's death. "When we see some tousled-haired kid with drooping socks standing on some semi-darkened court or in a yard after everyone else has gone home, he will be shooting a basketball, and we will remember Pete."

Ironically, at the age of 25 and years before his death, Maravich had told Pennsylvania reporter, Andy Nuzzo, "I don't want to play 10 years in the NBA and then die of a heart attack at 40."

Maravich is buried at Resthaven Gardens of Memory and Mausoleum in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.


  • Maravich was inducted into the Basketball in May 1987. He is one of the youngest players ever to be inducted. Ed Macauley was inducted at age 32.)
  • After Maravich's death, Louisiana Governor Buddy Roemer signed a proclamation officially renaming the LSU home court the Pete Maravich Assembly Center in 1988.
  • In 1991, a biographical film dramatizing his 8th grade season entitled, The Pistol: The Birth of a Legend, was released.
  • In 1996, he was named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History by a panel made up of NBA historians, and coaches. He was the only deceased player on the list.
  • In 2001, a comprehensive 90-minute documentary film debuted on CBS entitled, Pistol Pete: The Life and Times of Pete Maravich.
  • In 2005, ESPNU named Maravich the greatest college basketball player of all-time.
  • In 2007, two biographies of Maravich were released:
  • Pete is survived by his two sons Jaeson and Joshua.
    • They represented their father in the 50 Greatest Players ceremony.

Video game depictionsEdit

Awards and recordsEdit


  • The Sporting News College Player of the Year (1970)
  • USBWA College Player of the Year (1969, 1970)
  • Naismith Award Winner (1970)
  • The Sporting News All-America First Team (1968, 1969, 1970)
  • Three-time AP and UPI First-Team All-America (1968, 1969, 1970)
  • Holds NCAA career record for most points (3,667, 44.2 ppg, three-year career) in 83 games
  • Holds NCAA career record for highest points per game average (44.2 ppg)
  • Holds NCAA record for most field goals made (1,387) and attempted (3,166)
  • Holds NCAA record for most free throws made (893) and attempted (1,152)
  • Holds NCAA record for most games scoring at least 50 points (28)
  • Holds NCAA single-season record for most points (1,381) and highest per game average (44.5 ppg) in 1970
  • Holds NCAA single-season record for most field goals made (522) and attempted (1,168) in 1970
  • Holds NCAA single-season record for most games scoring at least 50 points (10) in 1970
  • Holds NCAA single-game record for most free throws made (30 of 31) against Oregon State on Dec. 22, 1969
  • Led the NCAA Division I in scoring with 43.8 ppg (1968); 44.2 (1969) and 44.5 ppg (1970)
  • Averaged 43.6 ppg on the LSU freshman team (1967)
  • Scored a career-high 69 points vs. Alabama (Feb. 7, 1970); 66 vs. Tulane (Feb. 10, 1969); 64 vs. Kentucky (Feb. 21, 1970); 61 vs. Vanderbilt (Dec. 11, 1969);
  • Holds LSU records for most field goals in a game (26) against Vanderbilt on Jan. 29, 1969 and attempted (57) against Vanderbilt
  • All-Southeastern Conference (1968, 1969, 1970)
  • In 1988, Louisiana Governor Buddy Roemer signed legislation changing the official name of LSU's home court to the Maravich Assembly Center
  • #23 Jersey retired by LSU (2007)
  • One of only 4 players to have his number retired by a team he never played for (New Orleans Hornets)
  • In 1970, Maravich led LSU to a 20-8 record and a third place finish in the NIT
Team Year Games Points PPG
LSU 1966-67 17 741 43.6
LSU 1967-68 26 1138 43.8
LSU 1968-69 26 1148 44.2
LSU 1969-70 31 1381 44.5
TOTALS 1967-70 83 3667 44.2


  • NBA All-Rookie Team
  • All-NBA First Team (1976, 1978)
  • All-NBA Second Team (1973, 1978)
  • Five-time NBA All-Star (1973, 1974, 1977, 1978, 1979)
  • Scored 15,948 points (24.2 ppg) in 658 games
  • Top 16 scoring average NBA history (24.2)
  • Led the NBA in scoring (31.1 ppg) in 1977, his career best
  • Scored a career-high 68 points against the New York Knicks on Feb. 25, 1977
  • Shares NBA single-game record for most free throws made in one quarter (14) on Nov. 28, 1973 against Buffalo
  • Shares NBA single-game record for most free throws attempted in one quarter (16) on Jan. 2, 1973 against Chicago
    1. 7 jersey retired by the Utah Jazz (1985)
    2. 7 jersey retired by the Superdome (1988)
  • NBA 50th Anniversary All-Time Team (1996)
    1. 7 jersey retired by the New Orleans Hornets (2002)

See alsoEdit


Further readingEdit

External linksEdit

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