Bill Neal: They called him ‘Pistol Pete’ for a reason!


:10—OK, stop right there before you go looking for me in a back alley somewhere…I’ll come clean. I love Steph Curry as much as any true Laker purist can, and let’s not get that part twisted. I am still a Laker man! But trust me when I tell ya any “old school” cat within shouting distance will tell all you youngsters there has not been, is not, and will never be anyone sweeter handling, passing or shooting a basketball than “Pistol Pete” Maravich. The next five seconds will tell you why you can’t crown Steph Curry just yet.  (This, of course, is with all due respect to the President of The Know It All Club, aka Mr. Eddie Jefferies!)  Now, count ‘em down.

:09—First of all, he’s homegrown straight outta Aliquippa, so you know he has the stones and the grit to compete on any level against anybody. Averaged over 20 points a game in high school and was known to pull up just across half court regularly. His ball-handling skills were so advanced, he was doing demos for Division I colleges.

:08—At LSU, Louisiana State University, Pete was literally a scoring machine averaging 44.2 points a game during his career from 1967-70. That’s still the NCAA record. He was a three-time SEC Player of the Year, three-time consensus First Team All-American, and was the college Player of the Year in 1970.

:07—Now listen to this and listen real good! He still has nearly every NCAA scoring record including ALL-TIME LEADING NCAA DIVISION I SCORING LEADER, 3,667 points…and that, boys and girls, was without the benefit of the 3-point shot!!! Highest scoring average 44.2 ppg, scored 69 points against Alabama.  Pulled down 22 rebounds against Baton Rouge to show he was a complete player. Twice he made 26 shots in a game, 66 against Tulane, 64 against Kentucky when Kentucky was king. And scored 55 points six times just to name a few.  It took him only 23 games to reach 1,000 points. In comparison, it took Shaq 52 games!!!

:06—Wait, hold on there a minute, nephew…sit back down, I am not done with you yet.  He led the nation in scoring, 1968—43.8 ppg, 1969—44.2 ppg, 1970—44.5 ppg, and all that while becoming the fourth all time assist leader at LSU with 5.12 ppg. AND…because of NCAA rules at the time, he didn’t play varsity ball as a freshman.  So, on the JV team he averaged 43.6 ppg…as a freshman, ARE – YOU – KIDDING – ME!?!?

:05—The 6’5” Maravich was the third-overall pick in the first round of the 1970 NBA draft.  Signed a huge contract for that time, $2 million, averaged 24 ppg and was named to the NBA All-Rookie team.  In his second year, 26.3 ppg and 27.7 ppg in his third year.  And finished second only to the great Bob McAdoo’s 30.6 ppg.  In his finest NBA season in 1977, he led the NBA in scoring, 31.1 ppg, scored 40 points 13 times, the most in the NBA that season, and led the league in points with 2,273, free throws 501, and 495 rebounds, and on February 25, 1977 he scored 68 points against the New York Knicks and the greatest defensive player at the time, Walt “Clyde” Frazier!  I would need all the space in this newspaper to give you the rest of his stats.  Do yourself a favor and Google the life and times of “Pistol Pete” Maravich. Following a spectacular college career and an injury-plagued 5 NBA All Star Team selection in his ten year career, the Pistol still holds down the best of all time for me . . . well, not just me, Kareem called him the NBA’s unstoppable force!  And Julius Erving said when he worked out in the summer to get ready for the upcoming season, Pistol Pete was the only guy he would play one-on-one . . . “Pete was the only player to force me to operate with all my skills as “The Doctor!”

:04—BTW, your Pittsburgh Steelers struck black and gold under the direction of new General Manager Omar Khan with Round 1 pick of Broderick Jones, OT from Georgia.  Heads up to the opposition…”Don’t let the Jones get you down.” (Temptations—1969).  Darnell Washington —tight end, Georgia—second round, Keeanu Benton—def. lineman —second round, and at long last, Joey Porter, Jr.—corner, Penn State—second round.  Now let’s go get the #7!  (Super Bowls mannn!)

:03—No, you’re not dreaming, the Pittsburgh Pirates are for real. Now if they can just stay healthy and the second half of the season pitching can hold up, we should be good for 90 wins this season. I am just sayin’!

:02—BTW, mark your calendar for Saturday, May 27, 2023, the 49th annual Willie “Pops” Stargell Pittsburgh MVP Awards and the Connie “the Hawk” Hawkins Hall of Fame inductions. Call AGI at 412-628-4856 for info…this is gonna be great! And it will sell out!

:01—BTW, so that you don’t think I’ve lost what little mind I have left…Steph Curry is the truth!




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