The all-time NCAA scoring champ (44.2 ppg!) and five-time All-Star starting guard recently took some time out from dunking on Jesus to weigh in on the League’s present contractual difficulties:
“It’s going to continually get worse because America is built on one basic principle: greed.”*
“Pistol Pete,” always colorful, went on to offer up some more specific insights into pro basketball’s labor policies.
Asked about parity and revenue-sharing, Pete replied, “They don’t particularly care about balance. Just the TV markets. Everyone says we got [All-Star forward and free agent] Sidney Wicks but I don’t see him here … the reason all those teams like Chicago, New York, and Boston get the good players is because they are in the major TV markets.”** Wicks was ultimately sent to the Celtics after league arbitration despite signing with Maravich’s fledgling New Orleans Jazz.
In light of some spirited discussion regarding the integrity and openness of the NBA’s owners and front offices, Maravich, who once averaged 27-7-and-4, had this to say: “I dealt honestly with these people. I can’t tolerate any more deceit and deception on the part of the coach and the present administration. [GM] Pat Williams and [Coach] Cotton Fitzsimmons have lied to me.”*** Harsh words to be sure, issued after secret negotiations led to a trade from the playoff contending Atlanta Hawks to the brand-new New Orleans expansion team despite assurances to the contrary. After that, Pete says he “realized what a cold, flesh-peddling business basketball could be.” Ouch!
Everyone has a bad day at the office, but did the first-ballot Hall of Famer have any more general opinions on the NBA writ large?
“It’s difficult to be happy in this business… I’m completely frustrated with basketball. I’m sorry I ever came into this league.”****
* 1976 interview with George White of the Houston Chronicle
** Excerpt from Maravich’s autobiography, Heir to a Dream (1987)
*** 1974 interview with Darrel Simmons in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution
(Note: this may or may not be a teaser to an upcoming article which may or may not be a book review of a recent biography on the life and times of Pete Maravich.)