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Pete Maravich Is Gone but Not Forgotten

January 09, 1988

A letter to Pete Maravich:

Dear Pete,

Before you go, here's that letter I was always going to write. I wanted to say thanks for the memories.

Thanks for the memory of a college superstar I saw on TV one Saturday afternoon in the spring of 1969. A one-of-a-kind basketball showman that I knew instantly I wanted to impersonate. I know now that I must have been one of a thousand young kids who tried to play like you, but back then I felt an original. I guess the closest I came was the droopy socks and long wiry hair.

Thanks for the night in '72 when I took a few of my doubting friends to see the "Pistol" and you responded with 44 points.

Thanks for the night I waited outside the Forum Club to get your autograph. I was the first one to get there and the last one to leave as you used my pen to satisfy each and every fan.

Thanks for the night in '73 when you put on one of the greatest moves of your career. Flying down the court on a three-on-one fast break, you controlled the ball in the middle as Wilt Chamberlain stood ready to defend. Looking to your left, you began what was surely to be one of your patented behind-the-back passes, only to bring the ball back around and lay it in gently as Wilt froze in amazement.

Thanks for the memories, Pete. You had a lot of critics, but I and a few thousand other kids defended your every move. I guess that's why I never wrote. I thought we were still kids, and you would be here forever like the poster on my wall.

I was wrong, and so were your critics.

ROB SWINEFORD

Whittier

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