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Pete Maravich: The Authorized Biography of Pistol Pete

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The youngest person to be voted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, "Pistol" Pete Maravich is recognized by the NBA as one of the all-time top 50 basketball players. More than 30 years after he left Louisiana State University, his NCAA scoring record still stands. He enjoyed fame, wealth, and short of winning an NBA championship, achieved every possible success. But there wa The youngest person to be voted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, "Pistol" Pete Maravich is recognized by the NBA as one of the all-time top 50 basketball players. More than 30 years after he left Louisiana State University, his NCAA scoring record still stands. He enjoyed fame, wealth, and short of winning an NBA championship, achieved every possible success. But there was a price. Pete brought a childlike exuberance to the court that often masked a tortured and confused adult. Things changed dramatically and permanently, however, when Pete found Christ. At last he experienced peace and a purpose that extended beyond the basketball court. He became an avid student of the Bible and a tireless evangelist. Tragically, at age 40, Pete Maravich died. This is the first authorized biography.


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The youngest person to be voted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, "Pistol" Pete Maravich is recognized by the NBA as one of the all-time top 50 basketball players. More than 30 years after he left Louisiana State University, his NCAA scoring record still stands. He enjoyed fame, wealth, and short of winning an NBA championship, achieved every possible success. But there wa The youngest person to be voted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, "Pistol" Pete Maravich is recognized by the NBA as one of the all-time top 50 basketball players. More than 30 years after he left Louisiana State University, his NCAA scoring record still stands. He enjoyed fame, wealth, and short of winning an NBA championship, achieved every possible success. But there was a price. Pete brought a childlike exuberance to the court that often masked a tortured and confused adult. Things changed dramatically and permanently, however, when Pete found Christ. At last he experienced peace and a purpose that extended beyond the basketball court. He became an avid student of the Bible and a tireless evangelist. Tragically, at age 40, Pete Maravich died. This is the first authorized biography.

30 review for Pete Maravich: The Authorized Biography of Pistol Pete

  1. 4 out of 5

    Brett C

    This book stars out with a detailed account following the Maraviches from Yugoslavia to Press Maravich and to Pistol Pete. Pete's story goes from South Carolina to LSU and into the NBA where his skill went unmatched. But behind the spectacular talent was a tortured soul. Pete Maravich was tormented by his own demons of perfection, depression, and devotion in honoring his hero, his father Press Maravich. He turned to alcohol to fill the void and lived a carefree life, he eventually spiraled out of This book stars out with a detailed account following the Maraviches from Yugoslavia to Press Maravich and to Pistol Pete. Pete's story goes from South Carolina to LSU and into the NBA where his skill went unmatched. But behind the spectacular talent was a tortured soul. Pete Maravich was tormented by his own demons of perfection, depression, and devotion in honoring his hero, his father Press Maravich. He turned to alcohol to fill the void and lived a carefree life, he eventually spiraled out of control. Then one night, God spoke to him one night saying 'Be Strong and Lift Up Thine Own Heart'. He devoted his life to Christ and teaching basketball became his purpose in life. Then tragically he collapsed on the court at the young age of 40. I felt this was a superior bipography and gripping story of the legendary Pistol Pete. The scene from the 1991 movie 'Pistol: Birth of a Legend' where the young Pete is playing one night during a storm is a true account. He recalled playing in the rain, lightning, and mud. He also came to the conclusion: if he could handle the ball in those conditions, then he could handle the ball anywhere! Powerful story and a recommended read. Thanks!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kev Willoughby

    One of the absolute best biographies I have ever read. I was 4 years old when Pete Maravich retired, so I don't remember watching him play while he was still active. I was 12 years old when he died, so I don't even remember hearing much about him until after he was gone. This book was a nice way to catch up with one of the all-time greats who was more than just a basketball hero. Any time I read a biography and then write a review, it is challenging to separate the life from the story. I want my One of the absolute best biographies I have ever read. I was 4 years old when Pete Maravich retired, so I don't remember watching him play while he was still active. I was 12 years old when he died, so I don't even remember hearing much about him until after he was gone. This book was a nice way to catch up with one of the all-time greats who was more than just a basketball hero. Any time I read a biography and then write a review, it is challenging to separate the life from the story. I want my review to be of the book, not the life, but those two things can be difficult to distinguish. What I enjoyed about this biography, compared to others, was Pete's honesty. There is a lot of raw emotion in this book. The reader is able to get a glimpse into the heart and mind of Pete Maravich as he grew into a basketball phenom under the shadow of his already successful father, and then later struggled to find peace and meaning in the midst of his own success. I also appreciated that the author, Wayne Federman, didn't just copy and paste several pages of previously written material, as I have seen other biographers do while researching other subjects. Those types of things can disrupt the flow of a story and it makes for boring reading. Although there are some transcripts of personal letters included from Pete and other family members, these are each very brief and they enhance the story, bringing the reader more clarity. But when a biographer is able to give the reader such a strong sense of familiarity with the subject that he almost seems like he could have been an old friend, you know you have a good book on your hands. Though anyone can look up old basketball highlights of Maravich on YouTube, many are grainy and difficult to follow. Federman's tale is more enthralling and his descriptions of Pete's game paint a vivid picture in the mind of the reader. But what is even more impressive is that Pete himself strove to be more than just a basketball player--he wanted to be remembered as someone who found meaning in his personal life. Federman gets this across to the reader as well. The result is that although I am certainly impressed with the skills of Pete Maravich, the basketball star, I leave the book wishing that I could have met Pete Maravich, the person.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Gary Brecht

    His NBA career didn’t start until 1970, about the time I had just returned from overseas, but somehow I was aware of a slender mop-headed basketball player in floppy socks with the nickname “Pistol Pete.” I’d barely noticed his NCAA career where he played for LSU, but vaguely recalled media attention being given to his prolific scoring ability. Years later, when I’d heard of his death at age 40, I felt a pang of regret that I hadn’t followed his professional accomplishments more closely. In my y His NBA career didn’t start until 1970, about the time I had just returned from overseas, but somehow I was aware of a slender mop-headed basketball player in floppy socks with the nickname “Pistol Pete.” I’d barely noticed his NCAA career where he played for LSU, but vaguely recalled media attention being given to his prolific scoring ability. Years later, when I’d heard of his death at age 40, I felt a pang of regret that I hadn’t followed his professional accomplishments more closely. In my youth I’d been a fan of the Boston Celtics and their marvelous roster of Havlicek, White, K.C. and Sam Jones and of course, Bill Russell. Pete’s rookie season, a year after Russell retired, was with a team I didn’t follow. However, as his legend grew, I became curious; is this guy as good as everyone says? Unfortunately, not until his last year in the NBA, when he became a member of the Celtics, was he on a team to which I paid attention. Consequently, I confess to having rarely seen this basketball wizard in an actual game. However, thanks to You Tube, one can now witness many of the Pistol’s magic moments on the court. These old snippets of video are a great supplement to this biographical book entitled simply, Maravich. The book is a straightforward account of Pete’s life; his early dedication to the sport to please his father, a former pro-player himself. It chronicles his spectacular college career at LSU where his father was coach. We learn that Pete’s transition into professional basketball was not a smooth one. Nor was he fortunate enough to have a winning roster to support his amazing talent. In retirement Pete Maravich was reborn and his Christianity became the center of his new life. Always generous, Pete shared with others how to perfect the skills he had learned through practice and dedication. You can find videos of his basketball “Homework” which was filmed for aspiring players of the future. Not only was Pistol Pete a Legend, but he left a legacy for others to follow.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    I grew up in the 1970's and it would have been impossible to be alive then, and any kind of a basketball fan, and not know who Pete Maravich was, quite possibly the most talented basketball player to ever lace up sneakers. Don't believe me?Then talk to some of the great players of today and ask them about Pistol Pete. Today's star, like Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson and the like and they will tell you how much the Pistol influenced them and the development of their game. Coaches like I grew up in the 1970's and it would have been impossible to be alive then, and any kind of a basketball fan, and not know who Pete Maravich was, quite possibly the most talented basketball player to ever lace up sneakers. Don't believe me?Then talk to some of the great players of today and ask them about Pistol Pete. Today's star, like Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson and the like and they will tell you how much the Pistol influenced them and the development of their game. Coaches like Pat Riley and Phil Jackson will sing the praises of Maravich also. Pete Maravich was more than a basketball player. He was a friend, a husband, and a father, and particularly for the last 10 years of his life a Christ like man. In this book you can read about Pete's exploits at LSU where he averages 44.2 points per game for three years and his travails in the NBA where he became a Hall of Famer and a member of the 50 greatest players in NBA history, yet the one thing he desired more than any, a championship, was denied him. Pete died much too soon at age 40 and it was then discovered he had a congenital heart disease that should have killed him before he reached 20, and yet he became one of the top athletes of his, or any time. Read the book.......Get to know Pete.

  5. 4 out of 5

    David Rough

    4.5 stars. I thoroughly enjoyed this biography of Pistol Pete Maravich. But I love basketball and Pete was one of my favorite players. I was able to attend one of his games when he played for the Hawks (verses Jerry West and the Lakers). If you don’t like talking hoops, then this book is probably not for you. The pages are filled with statistics, great stories of gameplay, and personalities of older players back in the 1960-1970s. LSU, the Hawks, the New Orleans Jazz then the Utah Jazz, and final 4.5 stars. I thoroughly enjoyed this biography of Pistol Pete Maravich. But I love basketball and Pete was one of my favorite players. I was able to attend one of his games when he played for the Hawks (verses Jerry West and the Lakers). If you don’t like talking hoops, then this book is probably not for you. The pages are filled with statistics, great stories of gameplay, and personalities of older players back in the 1960-1970s. LSU, the Hawks, the New Orleans Jazz then the Utah Jazz, and finally the Celtics all were privileged to have Maravich on their rosters. I was impressed with Part Four of the book: Reborn that recounted Pete’s spiritual transformation to Christianity and his zeal for sharing his faith. His socks were floppy, his hair was long and shaggy, but his faith was solid and unmovable. After reading the book I just had to watch some video of his magic on the court and listen to his testimony.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jake

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Maravich in 2021 is a ghost. A name you might hear out of a mumbling Hubie Brown or Dick Vitale When he does college games and someone has a particularly incredible move. This had been sitting on my shelf for a few years and man am I glad I picked it up. I’m 26, born a decade after Pistol Pete passed away and it takes some adjustment for me to learn and re-learn the famous names in the pages. Published in 2006 the book ends with anecdotes by Kobe Bryant - who studied Pistol tapes while his dad f Maravich in 2021 is a ghost. A name you might hear out of a mumbling Hubie Brown or Dick Vitale When he does college games and someone has a particularly incredible move. This had been sitting on my shelf for a few years and man am I glad I picked it up. I’m 26, born a decade after Pistol Pete passed away and it takes some adjustment for me to learn and re-learn the famous names in the pages. Published in 2006 the book ends with anecdotes by Kobe Bryant - who studied Pistol tapes while his dad finished his playing days in Europe. Kobe’s passed a year ago now. And other famous names and idols like Jason Kidd and Steve Nash (both coaches of the Brooklyn Nets). Plus a surprising amount of love for Rafer Alston (I need to be reminded of his greatness). This book serves as the definitive biography on the life of Pete & Press Maravich. It was more than enough in 2006 and 15 years later it still delights.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    I'm a big Pete Maravich fan, having grown up hearing about him and doing my best to perform his ball handling drills. I enjoyed this book, which was approved by his wife, because it seemed honest and told his story in a real way. His basketball career was an amazing accomplishment, but I admire him most for his walk in his christian faith. Pete Maravich was an interesting man, and was taken too soon. I'm a big Pete Maravich fan, having grown up hearing about him and doing my best to perform his ball handling drills. I enjoyed this book, which was approved by his wife, because it seemed honest and told his story in a real way. His basketball career was an amazing accomplishment, but I admire him most for his walk in his christian faith. Pete Maravich was an interesting man, and was taken too soon.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jim Barber

    Pete Maravich was an incredible basketball player who became an incredible man. This is a great story about the transformation he underwent. Add in the blow-by -blow game accounts and it all makes for a great read. Pete died young but he packed a lot of punch into his 40 years. And the ending was better than a game-winning basket.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jacob Pedersen

    Incredibly well written book that shows how complex Pete was both on and off the court. I remember falling in love with the game at the same age as Pete. One if the greatest players, and the book portrayed his life in a riveting, emotional, and important way.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Bjørn Kleiven

    I love basketball and its history; biographies gives a vivid image of before and why they become who they did; besides the tedious basketball facts ): game recap and stats; a very good book for everyone with keen interest in human development.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

    If you love basketball and a great story of redemption - this is a great read. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

  12. 5 out of 5

    ARoQ

    I really hate to be too harsh to this book, which is thoroughly well researched, detailed, and generally very entertaining. The problem is I read Mark Kriegel’s Pistol first- which is not just a great sports book, but one of the best biographies of a popular figure I’ve ever read. You can’t go wrong with either really- pick up Maravich mostly for its well presented facts and clean narrative, but pick up Pistol if you want the almost unbelievable story of Pete Maravich’s life to swish into your b I really hate to be too harsh to this book, which is thoroughly well researched, detailed, and generally very entertaining. The problem is I read Mark Kriegel’s Pistol first- which is not just a great sports book, but one of the best biographies of a popular figure I’ve ever read. You can’t go wrong with either really- pick up Maravich mostly for its well presented facts and clean narrative, but pick up Pistol if you want the almost unbelievable story of Pete Maravich’s life to swish into your brain like one of his no look fadeaway jump shots (what an elegant metaphor!) and stay there for good.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Pete

    Maravich was far more interesting than I imagined. I was vaguely aware of his on-the-court exploits, knowing that he was a tremendous ball handler, prolific scorer, and wonderful entertainer. It is all too easy to know such things about a person, and never consider the work that must have been put in to become so good at something, or the resulting havoc such obsessive one-dimensionality can wreak on a man's personal life. Maravich's boyhood enthusiasm for the sport was fueled by his father, Pres Maravich was far more interesting than I imagined. I was vaguely aware of his on-the-court exploits, knowing that he was a tremendous ball handler, prolific scorer, and wonderful entertainer. It is all too easy to know such things about a person, and never consider the work that must have been put in to become so good at something, or the resulting havoc such obsessive one-dimensionality can wreak on a man's personal life. Maravich's boyhood enthusiasm for the sport was fueled by his father, Press, a notable basketball figure himself. His father constantly created new ways to challenge his son, staving off what would have, under the tutelage of a less innovative coach, been an inevitable boredom with bouncing ball, throwing ball. Press would drive his car with Pete sitting shotgun, and have his son dribble the ball out the window as he shifted speeds from 2-25 MPH. There are many passages which paint an impressive picture of Pistol Pete's dedication, but that one illustrates what a genius coach his father was, always searching for new ways to challenge his prodigal son. Maravich's off-the-court life is sad. His peers were often jealous, and a disturbing description of his apartment--cold, modern, stylish, lifeless--gives the impression that the time spent playing basketball had stunted his potential for growth in other areas, like personality, introspection, intellect. Allusions to a recurring depression litter the book, until the point at which he becomes a born again Christian. Ugh.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Tom

    Pete Maravich is a mythic figure in the basketball pantheon, but I do not think I have seen too many clips of him playing the game. Prior to reading this book, I didn't have too good of an idea about the life of Maravich, besides his prolific scoring (especially at LSU) and an early death. This book pours over news articles and personal letters of Maravich and his family. The reader gets a lot of information but the writing is a bit flat. Maravich is a player who had a unique "showtime" style, bu Pete Maravich is a mythic figure in the basketball pantheon, but I do not think I have seen too many clips of him playing the game. Prior to reading this book, I didn't have too good of an idea about the life of Maravich, besides his prolific scoring (especially at LSU) and an early death. This book pours over news articles and personal letters of Maravich and his family. The reader gets a lot of information but the writing is a bit flat. Maravich is a player who had a unique "showtime" style, but the writing does not do a good job of capturing the art and beauty of Maravich's game (Another basketball book, The Art of a Beautiful Game: The Thinking Fan's Tour of the NBA, was much better at exciting the reader). Some of the most fascinating parts of Maravich's life were how he helped his father get a coaching job at LSU by his sheer talent as a prospect. The two seemed to have an interesting relationship, with the father driving the son to excellence. Maravich's relationship with God and religion is also intriguing. He was quite dismissive of it early in his life, but became quite an adamant believer. When Pete Maravich's odd heart finally gave out, he was playing basketball at a church with James Dobson, of Focus on the Family. Quite an odd little story.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Dale Stonehouse

    This is one of two Maravich biographies published at virtually the same time in 2006, and my impression was that this authorized bio was intended to soften or minimize possible negative information in the unauthorized bio. This turned out not to be the case, and the major difference in the two is this one emphasizes Pete's conversion as a born-again Christian in the last 5 years of his too-short life. Some may be put off by this, but it certainly was a big part of his story. Otherwise there is n This is one of two Maravich biographies published at virtually the same time in 2006, and my impression was that this authorized bio was intended to soften or minimize possible negative information in the unauthorized bio. This turned out not to be the case, and the major difference in the two is this one emphasizes Pete's conversion as a born-again Christian in the last 5 years of his too-short life. Some may be put off by this, but it certainly was a big part of his story. Otherwise there is not much new or different, but any Maravich story is going to be interesting at the least. Since no other human could or has since do what he did on the basketball court, perhaps it was comforting to him to know that anyone can embrace Christianity even if they could not emulate him on the court.

  16. 4 out of 5

    James Davis

    At first I thought I was really going to like this book for many reasons. One of the reasons is that it is a basketball book. Another reason is that the main character Pete Maravich is kind of like me. On the short side, he had long hair and was white. He was also known as one of the best point gaurds ever so I thought this book was going to be great. However, I was sadly mistaken. The book is WAY too confusing, there are way too many stats, dates and just all sorts of numbers. It is very hard t At first I thought I was really going to like this book for many reasons. One of the reasons is that it is a basketball book. Another reason is that the main character Pete Maravich is kind of like me. On the short side, he had long hair and was white. He was also known as one of the best point gaurds ever so I thought this book was going to be great. However, I was sadly mistaken. The book is WAY too confusing, there are way too many stats, dates and just all sorts of numbers. It is very hard to understand what's going on. It didn't really even seem like a story. It's just some facts about his basketball career. However, if you are a stat fanatic then this is the book for you.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Branden

    I am a huge Pete Maravich fan, even though I'm too young to have ever seen him play in person. What I have seen though proves to me that he was ahead of his time by about 30 years. This book was great because it really told a lot about Pete as a person besides Pete as a basketball God. It touched on the personal demons that he dealt with throughout his playing career. It also jumps into his conversion to Christianity which, surprisingly was quite inspiring. I loved the book for the mere fact tha I am a huge Pete Maravich fan, even though I'm too young to have ever seen him play in person. What I have seen though proves to me that he was ahead of his time by about 30 years. This book was great because it really told a lot about Pete as a person besides Pete as a basketball God. It touched on the personal demons that he dealt with throughout his playing career. It also jumps into his conversion to Christianity which, surprisingly was quite inspiring. I loved the book for the mere fact that now I know a little bit more about Pete Maravich then I knew before.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Ross Dickey

    Pete Maravich is truly one of the most unique basketball players of all-time. He was way ahead of his time in terms of his basketball style. All of the things he went through in his life are interesting and incredible. I am so glad that he truly believed in the Lord Jesus Christ as his Savior near the end of his life after many years of searching for the truth! Great biographical book to read!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Billy

    It was an interesting book if you are interested in Pistol Pete. Growing up and hearing all the stories about him from my dad, I enjoyed the book. Maravich was a complicated and trouble person. I knew about most of his eccentricities, but the book really went into details that I had not heard before. My only complaint is that it could be dry at times when the author was just recounting stats and giving quotes from coaches and players.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Bluesboy1952

    The guy had a dad who would accept nothing less than his son becoming an all star. He pushed him like a "Tiger Father" accepting no compromise at all and only grudgingly giving him praise. He gave his son 4 props to enable him to star in college and do things that quite frankly won't be seen again in all liklihood. I always just looked at the results of the Pistols career and didn't realize what went on behind the scenes to accomplish it. This book certainly reveals that. The guy had a dad who would accept nothing less than his son becoming an all star. He pushed him like a "Tiger Father" accepting no compromise at all and only grudgingly giving him praise. He gave his son 4 props to enable him to star in college and do things that quite frankly won't be seen again in all liklihood. I always just looked at the results of the Pistols career and didn't realize what went on behind the scenes to accomplish it. This book certainly reveals that.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Joe

    This is more than just a sports book. It is a story of how a father was instrumental in developing his son into one of the finest players ever to play the game of basketball. It is also a story of the trials and tribulations that such an endeavor brought both to the father and to the son. Fnally, it is the story of how a person overcame criticism from peers and others and the truly miraculous life this man lived. The fact he lived beyond the age of twenty WAS truly a miracle.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Davison Abrantes

    4.8 Stars. My rating might be out of bias, but man did I love this book. To experience the journey my idol went through throughout his life is quite priceless. Also, this is the first book that actually made me shed a tear... don't ask me why or how, but it did. I loved this book. Would 100% recommend for any avid sport fan. 4.8 Stars. My rating might be out of bias, but man did I love this book. To experience the journey my idol went through throughout his life is quite priceless. Also, this is the first book that actually made me shed a tear... don't ask me why or how, but it did. I loved this book. Would 100% recommend for any avid sport fan.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Allison

    This book is more than just basketball. It covers Pistol Pete's life from beginning to end and shows the man he was off of the basketball court. It shows his relationship with his father off the court and with his wife & children. It should be a must read for any die hard basketball fan. I always knew that he was a talented player but never realized just how talented he was. This book is more than just basketball. It covers Pistol Pete's life from beginning to end and shows the man he was off of the basketball court. It shows his relationship with his father off the court and with his wife & children. It should be a must read for any die hard basketball fan. I always knew that he was a talented player but never realized just how talented he was.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jon

    cool book, yea

  25. 5 out of 5

    Alan Hinton

    Everything you wanted to know about Pistol Pete can be found in Maravich. I was especially captivated by the parts that mentioned Hattiesburgers Brad Brian and Steve Knight.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Eric Rogers

    Very good read. I felt the power of Jesus Christ in transforming a life totally focused on self to a life consumed with the other.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Chase Parsley

    A thorough and immensely entertaining analysis of the life of Pistol Pete Maravich. That about sums it up - get out there and read it!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Chris Doherty

    This was a very interesting book.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Wayne Federman

    OK, I wrote it....

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ian

    It could have been great.

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