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YouTube Gold: Pete Maravich Erupts For 68 Points

The man was a wonder.

Utah Jazz v New York Knicks
 NEW YORK CITY, NY - 1970: Pete Maravich #7 of the Utah Jazz drives against the New York Knicks circa 1970 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Photo by NBA Photos/NBAE via Getty Images

The NBA today has a history of exuberant, flashy plays. It’s become the signature of the league and on ESPN’s SportsCenter, you’ll see the best dunks, the slickest passes and the most fun plays every night.

For a long time though, that sort of thing was discouraged. Flashiness was discouraged.

There were the outliers. Despite what JJ Redick thought, Bob Cousy had some amazing skills and made passes that were years ahead of his time.

Generally though, the NBA stressed fundamentals. Then two things arrived at more or less the same time: the ABA and Pistol Pete Maravich.

The ABA quickly carved out an identity as the Fun League, portraying (correctly) the NBA as much more staid.

Maravich, who played his high school ball at Raleigh’s Broughton High, personally challenged that.

At LSU, he averaged 44.2 ppg and scored a total of 3,667 points, a record that might never be broken (at 3,288, Detroit Mercy’s Antoine Davis is getting close, but he’s still 379 points away from catching Maravich. With 10 games left in the regular season for 8-13 Detroit Mercy, Davis would have to average 37.9 ppg to do it. Toss in at least one post-season game in the Horizon that comes down to 34.45. Don’t bet the grocery money on it happening).

Even if he pulled it off, no one this side of Larry Bird and Magic Johnson has ever had Maravich’s full bag of tricks.

In this 1977 game between the New Orleans Saints and the New York Knicks, Maravich had one of his best outings in his entire NBA history with 68 points.

And it should be pointed out that Maravich did this before the NBA borrowed the three point shot from the ABA in 1979.

Sadly, Maravich died at 41 after playing pickup basketball for the first time in a while. After his career ended, he became a devout Christian and didn't care much about the game anymore. After that last pickup game he said “I feel great,” and died less than a minute later.

An autopsy revealed that Maravich lacked a left coronary artery. That he could do the things that he did with a seriously limited heart is more amazing than anything he did on the court.