I’m a child of the 70s and one of my best memories is growing up in the era of Pete Maravich.
If he were playing today, he’d be on ESPN every other week, but back then it was kind of a rarity to see LSU on TV. Pete was simply one-of-a-kind, doing stuff with a basketball that no one had ever seen before. Later, he moved to the NBA which gave us the chance to see him a little more often.
This week, I found NBA.com had posted some great old videos featuring the made-for-TV "H-O-R-S-E" competitions between all of the big-name stars of the mid-70s. And there it was. Vintage Pete Maravich doing some crazy behind-the-back shots against George Gervin and an overmatched Bob McAdoo. CBS used to put one of these segments on the air at halftime of its weekly Sunday telecasts, leading up to the coveted H-O-R-S-E championship later in the season. It was great stuff for a 13 year-old. It’s still great today, but a little sad too since Pistol Pete is no longer with us. And yes, that’s Dick Stockton handling the play-by-play. I think he did the the play-by-play for Christians vs Lions.
Pistol Pete is still immensely popular. Maravich books, jerseys and other items almost always sell really well. He was always a pretty good autograph signer, especially after his playing days when he often added Bible verses. Autographed Pete Maravich items and Maravich 1970-71 Topps rookie cards aren’t easy to find, but do pop up on eBay–especially the latter which is one of the ‘holy grails’ for basketball card collectors.
The NBA is holding another All Star Jam Fest this weekend and I guess there’s a card show attached, but you’d never know it. Both the NBA and NFL, with its Super Bowl Experience card show, do a really poor job promoting it to the core audience in the hobby. They go all out in the local area, but they’re missing the boat by not trying to woo collectors to the host city by providing information or advertising the event nationally.
We tried to provide additional info to collectors during the Super Bowl experience, but couldn’t get anyone associated with the event to even return a phone call.