Skip to main content

Julius Erving and Pistol Pete Maravich talk about playing together with the Hawks


Before he got drafted 12th overall in the '72 NBA Draft by the Bucks - a team with Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Oscar Robertson - a 22-year-old Julius Erving signed a 4-year deal with the Atlanta Hawks.

What followed the Draft was a legal conundrum between two teams, which ultimately got resolved in favor of the Virginia Squires -- the ABA team Erving had already signed a contract with before he decided to take his talents to the NBA. The Hawks were forced to pay hefty fines, and the Bucks received draft picks as compensation after coming within an inch of assembling one of the greatest trios in NBA history.

And while Erving never got to play for the Bucks, he did spend a brief time playing with the Hawks, even after the NBA's Board of Governors decided his NBA rights belonged to Milwaukee. Julius even participated in the team's preseason games, playing alongside the likes of Lou Hudson and Pistol Pete Maravich.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

I remember those exhibition games. I would just grab a rebound, throw it out to Pete and get on the wing. Pete would always find you. He got his points, but he loved to pass the ball. He could hit you in full stride in a place where you could do something with the ball. That was a measure of his greatness.

Julius Erving, NBA

"It really was one of the joys of my life to play with Pete, to be in training camp with him," Erving said about his experience playing with the Hall of Famer. "We used to stay after practice and play one-on-one. We would play for dinner after practice."

That short stretch of exhibition games was enough for Erving to leave a strong impression on Maravich as well. His athleticism and Pete's ability to make plays for others would've made one of the best duos in the league at the time -- perhaps even on the NBA all-time list.

Julius was the most creative player that I've ever played with. It was so easy to play with him. I think during that time, my average was about 14 or 15 assists per game. I'd just come down the court, and his eyes would see mine - and I knew that he was going to the hoop. I'd just throw a little rainbow up there, and it'd be history because nobody could get up like Dr. J.

Pete Maravich, NBA

Erving playing alongside Kareem and Big-O in Milwaukee may be the biggest what-if in NBA history. Pairing him up with Pistol Pete Maravich with the Hawks might be the close second, especially with the on-court connection the two developed after a few exhibition games. Had they stayed together with the Hawks, the organization's 63-year-long championship drought would've been a lot shorter.

Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving, forward Kevin Durant and guard James Harden

“This has to go down as one of the most epic failures in the history of this league” — Tim Legler shreds the Brooklyn Nets

Two other teams in the modern NBA came to mind as faliures given the talent they had on the roster.

Kevin Durant blasts Philly fans for their chants towards Ben Simmons

Should the Brooklyn Nets regret trading for Kevin Durant?

The Durant-Irving partnership in Brooklyn could arguably go down as the most disappointing one in NBA history.

Detroit Pistons legend Rick Mahorn and Indiana Pacers legend Reggie Miller

Reggie Miller on who he hated facing on the bad boy Pistons — “He ​​had a crazy look in his eye all the time”

There’s a reason why Miller's most feared Pistons player was dubbed as the “Baddest Bad Boy of them all.”

San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan and guard Manu Ginobili

"I lost a lot of sleep because of him" — Chauncey Billups reveals who deserved to win the 2005 NBA Finals MVP

Tim Duncan won the 2005 NBA Finals MVP. But Chauncey Billups, as well as some fans, believed the trophy belonged to someone else.

Michael Jordan

Beer drones — the best feature on Michael Jordan's exclusive golf course

Do you want to be a member of the exclusive The Grove XXIII club? Michael Jordan has to invite you first.


Miles Bridges' wife exposes him for domestic violence

The NBA community needs to to better. ”I won’t be silent to protect others anymore because I value myself and my kids more than anyones ‘image’”


“The whole NBA just saw this movie” — Zach Lowe shuts down the idea the Lakers could trade for KD and Kyrie

According to the numbers the trade works. Can you count anything out in the modern NBA?

Jaylen Brown responds to Draymond Green's comments

Jaylen Brown fires back at Draymond Green: "Draymond got a podcast and lost his damn mind"

Draymond Green claimed he knew that the Boston Celtics were already defeated mentally after Jaylen Brown's statements. The Celtics forward had something to say to Green on his Twitter.