Friday, June 22, 2007


Two of the NBA’s all-time best were born on this date…

Happy 45th birthday to Clyde “The Glide” Drexler, the most fluid in-game dunker I’ve ever seen, and probably the reason why the Portland Trailblazers picked Sam Bowie with the second pick in the 1984 NBA Draft, over Michael Jordan. Check out his top 10 dunks below.

It would have also been “Pistol” Pete Maravich’s 60th birthday today, if he had not passed away of a heart attack while playing three-on-three on January 5, 1988. The most spectacular guard in the history of college basketball, he averaged 44.2 ppg over the course of his college career. Not one postseason, not one season, but over three years – 43.8 ppg his sophomore season, 44.2 ppg his junior season, and 44.5 as a senior (back then, college players were not allowed to play varsity as freshmen). He owns a majority of NCAA scoring records, including most career points (3,667), highest career scoring average, most field goals made and attempted (1,387 of 3,166), and most fifty-point games (28!). By the way, when he played, they didn’t have a three-point line.

Maravich’s NBA career was less lustrous, but still pretty good. He averaged 24.2 ppg over the course of his ten-year career with the Atlanta Hawks, New Orleans Jazz, and Boston Celtics. He retired after the 1979-80 season, was elected to the Naismith Hall of Fame in 1987, and is a member of the NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Time Team.

“Pistol” Pete was THE showman before there were showmen in the sport. He did so many things with the basketball, it was amazing. He had every pass, dribbling move, and shot in the book – because he wrote the damn thing. The son of a coach (he played for his father, Press, at Louisiana State University), Maravich practiced for hours and hours and hours. He made a cheesy series of instructional videos (one of which you can see here), but they are amazing illustrations of what he could do with a basketball and the incredible hands he had. He was AND1 before anybody knew what the hell that meant, and the closest thing that the NBA has seen in terms of his creativity and showmanship since is (~gulp~) the Miami Heat’s Jason Williams (well, when Williams started with the Sacramento Kings… keep in mind, I don’t think Williams is anywhere near Maravich, it’s just that his showmanship when he first came into the league was crazy). The Pistol was one of basketball’s greatest, so take some time to get the whole picture by watching the video.

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