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Almost four decades have passed since Maravich entered the national consciousness as basketball's boy wizard. No one had ever played the game like the kid with the floppy socks and shaggy hair. And all these years later, no one else ever has. The idea of Pistol Pete continues to resonate with young people today just as powerfully as it did with their fathers.
In averaging 44.2 points a game at Louisiana State University, he established records that will never be broken. But even more enduring than the numbers was the sense of ecstasy and artistry with which he played. With the ball in his hands, Maravich had a singular power to inspire awe, inflict embarrassment, or even tell a joke.
But he wasn't merely a mesmerizing showman. He was basketball's answer to Elvis, a white Southerner who sold Middle America on a black man's game. Like Elvis, he paid a terrible price, becoming a prisoner of his own fame.
Set largely in the South, Kriegel's Pistol, a tale of obsession and basketball, fathers and sons, merges several archetypal characters. Maravich was a child prodigy, a prodigal son, his father's ransom in a Faustian bargain, and a Great White Hope. But he was also a creature of contradictions: always the outsider but a virtuoso in a team sport, an exuberant showman who wouldn't look you in the eye, a vegetarian boozer, an athlete who lived like a rock star, a suicidal genius saved by Jesus Christ.
A renowned biographer--People magazine called him "a master"--Kriegel renders his subject with a style that is, by turns, heartbreaking, lyrical, and electric.
The narrative begins in 1929, the year a missionary gave Pete's father a basketball. Press Maravich had been a neglected child trapped in a hellish industrial town, but the game enabled him to blossom. It also caused him to confuse basketball with salvation. The intensity of Press's obsession initiates a journey across three generations of Maraviches. Pistol Pete, a ballplayer unlike any other, was a product of his father's vanity and vision. But that dream continues to exact a price on Pete's own sons. Now in their twenties--and fatherless for most of their lives--they have waged their own struggles with the game and its ghosts.
Pistol is an unforgettable biography. By telling one family's history, Kriegel has traced the history of the game and a large slice of the American narrative.
The Pistol was before my time, and I'm not a sports fan of any kind but I remember hearing people talk about how awesome he was. Read morePublished 1 month ago by hollysmom
Good book. Especially for those interested in that era of basketball.Published 1 month ago by Dave.
Good story chronicling the Maravich family. Pistol Pete's exploits brought back memories and I had to look at video clips of his
fantastic yet tragic career. Read more
The good about the book: You get an excellent look into the lives of both Pete and Press Maravich. Press was relentless in making sure Pete would be a great basketball player. Read morePublished 2 months ago by M. Johnson
Great background information on the creation of a basketball great and the forces that drove him to become a truly great if flawed individual. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Wileymama
I did not know much about "Pistol Pete" or basketball during the time he played...I really enjoyed this book! Read morePublished 2 months ago by Toadgram