Pistol Pete: How a skinny white guy revolutionized basketball

A-O!!! That’s pronounced like “Hey Yo,” but with a street slang accent. That’s also not a greeting or slang term, in fact it’s a nickname, just like Hot Sauce, Skip To My Lou, and The Professor. Yup, they’re some of the biggest players from the And-1 Street Ball Tour you may have heard of.

Despite the non-existent rules of carry or travel, they were wizards with the ball. They dazzled the crowd and broke they defenders’ ankles, literally, but besides being street ball players, what do they all have in common? They wouldn’t have been who they were without “Pistol” Pete Maravich – whose awesome nickname belongs among the all-time great names:

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Unfortunately this writer is way too young to have witnessed him play, but highlights on YouTube are not fairytales. They’re real. If you haven’t watched any of his highlights, you’re gonna want to check them out. He was amazing. He revolutionized the game. He changed what it meant to be a point guard and the rules of ball handling and passing.

SEE ALSO: C-3PNO – Why Chris Paul isn’t an elite point guard

Pistol was Magic Johnson before Magic, he was the And-1 street team before the tour, he was Kyrie Irving before Kyrie! If you yourself have ever done a behind the back pass, or dropped off a pass between the legs, then you are channeling your inner Pistol, not Steph Curry or Chris Paul.

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The only thing flashier than the Pistol himself was maybe his iconic mop-top hair. But don’t get it twisted; this 6’5 scrawny white dude could ball. Besides being a masterful passer and ball handler, he could flat out score.

Before his pro days, he had one of the most prolific scoring runs ever, averaging 43.8, 44.2, and 44.5 points per game in three years at Louisiana State University. He even scored 50 or more points in 10 of LSU’s 31 games his senior year. Say it with me, BALLER!

His scoring woes didn’t stop in college, oh no, they transferred over to the pros. In the 1976-77 season, his best season, he averaged 31.1 ppg and scored 40 or more 13 times, including a 68-point effort against Walt Frazier and the New York Knicks.

So next time you lace up your kicks and step on the hardwood or blacktop and you decide to make a pass behind your back or through your legs, don’t call out Magic or Curry, instead, yell out Pistol!