An all around great athlete and man

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 30, 2013

When a group of men gather over a cup of coffee, especially during football season, most of the talk is about some of the greats of the game, past and present.  
A few weeks ago, I asked a group who they thought was the most exciting athlete they had ever seen. After a few names were mentioned, I said without a doubt, “Pete Maravich of LSU and NBA fame was the most complete and exciting athlete in the last 50 years. His record of scoring 3,667 points is one of the top 10 in the world of sports and is most unlikely to be broken. This was accomplished in only three years because a freshman was not allowed to play varsity.
Keep in mind, his average of 44.2 points per game was before the three-point shot was made a part of the game. In spite of those accomplishments, he is best known for how he mesmerized fans with ball handling.
Magic Johnson, one of the greats of the game, is credited with saying, “Pete was the man! I’d just sit there and shake my head and say to myself, ‘How did he do that?’”  
Elgin Baylor said, “Pete is the best I’ve ever seen.” Kobe Bryant said, “I learned all my tricks from Pete Maravich.”
Tonight, the New Orleans
Pelicans open their NBA season against the Indianapolis Pacers. I guarantee no fan will experience the excitement that Pete Maravich created.
Pete died Jan. 5, 1988, at age 40 on a trip to California as he was scheduled to appear on Dr. James Dobson’s Christian radio show, “Focus on the Family.” He died on the basketball court playing a make-up game with Dr. Dobson. His appearance on the show, which never materialized, was not to glamorize his basketball career but to share his witness as a Christian.  
Prior to his death, he went throughout the country sharing his testimony and often repeating, “If people just see a basketball player when they look at me, forget it. My life is nothing. The old Pete Maravich is dead and buried. I want to be remembered as a Christian, a person that serves Him to the utmost, not a basketball player.”
With all the glory that came with being a great athlete, Maravich
said that nothing could compare to his born-again experience and his personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  
When Pete died, Dan Rather of CBS Evening News said, “An American original died today.”
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