His creative game had a style of its own
Although his given name was Pete, most knew Maravich by his nickname: "Pistol." He earned that during his high school days from his habit of shooting the ball from his side as if holding a revolver.
Maravich completed one of the most spectacular college careers in NCAA history, scoring 43.6 ppg for LSU's freshman team ... and then nation-leading averages of 43.8, 44.2, and 44.5 ppg, respectively, in three seasons at the varsity level. During his senior season he won recognition as College Player of the Year after scoring 50 or more points in 10 of LSU’s 31 games and setting NCAA records for most points (1,381) and highest scoring average in a single season.
He entered the NBA a top-10 scorer -- averaging 23.2 ppg as a rookie, good for ninth in the league -- and ultimately took home a scoring title with 31.1 ppg for the New Orleans Jazz in 1976-77. In his first nine NBA seasons, his lowest scoring average was 19.3 ppg (1971-72) and he averaged 25 ppg or more in four out of five seasons from 1972-73 to 1978-79.
In his third season, Maravich complemented his scoring punch (26.1 ppg) by dishing out a career-high 6.9 assists, earning the first of five All-Star appearances. The Hawks finished 46-36 that year, bowing out to the Celtics in the conference semifinals.
The expansion New Orleans Jazz picked up Maravich at a steep cost (two players, four Draft picks) prior to their inaugural 1974-75 campaign. After struggling through his first year, Maravich made consecutive appearances on the All-NBA First Team in 1976-77, followed by a Second Team showing in 1978. Two of those four Draft picks would become Hall of Famer David Thompson and Alex English.
The Jazz retired Maravich's No. 7 in 1985, and he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame two years later. He was posthumously named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History during the league's 50th anniversary celebration in 1996.
Maravich's father, Press, had been a guard with the Youngstown Bears of the National Basketball League (1945-46) and Pittsburgh Ironmen of the Basketball Association of America (1946-47); the two leagues merged to form the NBA in 1949.