Skip to main content

Julius Erving shares why Pistol Pete is the most skilled basketball player he ever saw

Pistol Pete vs Julius Erving

Dr.J details how good was Pistol Pete

Dr.J shares what made Pistol Pete the most skilled basketball player he ever saw while training together with him over the summer, playing in numerous one-on-ones against each other.

Dr.J had a lot of respect for Pistol Pete

Julius Erving, a.k.a Dr.J, is the first premiere highflyer in the NBA, one of the greatest scorers, and a class act that doesn't come very often. His legacy and impact on the generations of young players are unmatched, and even Michael Jordan said he was his idol growing up. Younger NBA fans probably don't know how impactful he was, but if you look at his resume, you will soon understand why he is so respected around the league.

In his autobiography, Erving talked about the respect for another basketball legend, Pistol Pete Maravich, who is still the most prolific scorer in NCAA history. Erving recalls playing one-on-one against Maravich when they were both teammates for a short period of time with the Atlanta Hawks back in 1972. When they started with training camp at Savannah, Georgia, Erving was able to see firsthand what made Pistol Pete so unique and gave an interesting breakdown of his skillset and what made him stand out against any other player he played against up until then.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

Playing one-on-one with Pete is an experience. He's got the kind of shooting range that I've never seen before. He can shoot it consistently out of thirty-five feet, but if I'm going to go out there and defend that, then he'll cross me up on the dribble and get a layup or a dunk. Pete has some great ups, and while he's not known for getting to the rim, he throws some nice dunks down in our games, his hair flapping in the hot Georgia air. One of the things that makes Pete so great is his hang time, and no one talks about that. He can leave the floor and sort of stay up there long enough to fake one way and then pass another.

Julius Erving, via Dr.J Autobiography

Erving and Pistol Pete had an arrangement that whoever loses that day pays dinner, and throughout the entire summer, they would stay after practice going up against each other. Other guys would also stay after practice and watch these two go up against each other, and Erving recalls he couldn't stop Pistol Pete from getting to his spots and vice versa.

Heated one-on-one games

We play some fierce games that summer, one-on-one battles that go for an hour after practice, and some of the guys even come out to watch after they've showered. Pete can get anywhere on the floor with his dribble, and I can't stop. But he can't keep me from penetrating either. We play every day after practice, and I think we split the bills for those dinners about in half. Pete Maravich is the most skilled basketball player I've ever seen.

Julius Erving, via Dr.J Autobiography

Unfortunately, they never played together as teammates after that summer because Erving was moved to an ABA team Virginia Squires and their careers went in totally different directions. Pistol Pete remained with the Hawks for a few years, and even though he was tremendous individually, he never achieved a lot with the teams he played for throughout his career. Erving, on the other hand became an NBA champion with the Philadelphia 76ers.

Them two playing together for the Atlanta Hawks is one of the biggest what-ifs in ABA/NBA history because there is no question they would make some noise together. They had a lot of respect for each other and loved playing with each other, which is essential when building great chemistry. Unfortunately, Pistol Pete died way too young from a heart attack at the age of 40 while playing a pick-up game. Nevertheless, he is still remembered as one of the flashiest and most prolific players this game has ever seen, and hopefully, younger NBA fans will learn more about him and the impact he had on the game of basketball.

Robert Williams has shut down Bam Adebayo, and his play could end up winning the Eastern Conference Finals for the Boston Celtics

Robert Williams has shut down Bam Adebayo, which could end up winning the Eastern Conference Finals for the Boston Celtics

Williams has done a superb job of slowing down Miami's star center Bam Adebayo, and the Heat have struggled to make up for his lost production

ralph-sampson-min

The story of the original NBA unicorn

This guy is the closest thing we have to a Giannis Antetokounmpo comparison.

kenny anderson copy

That time when the New Jersey Nets shared showers with truckers

Compared to how teams operate these days, this is a pretty bizarre experience.

Danny Green on Gregg Popovich's greatness

Danny Green on why Gregg Popovich is good: "Because he believes he should've played in the NBA"

ccording to Danny Green, not playing in the NBA made Gregg Popovich great at what he does

Paul George reveals he struggled with sleepp inside the NBA Bubble

Paul George reveals he had sleepless nights for two weeks inside the 2020 NBA Bubble

Paul George became "Pandemic P" inside the Orlando Bubble and he revealed the reason behind his poor performances.

luka-doncic-jj-redick-larry-bird-magic-johnson-min

"It's not his fault they can't make shots"-JJ Redick defends Luka Doncic's ability to make teammates better

Redick thinks Luka is better than Magic Johnson and Larry Bird when it comes to making players around him better.

Gilbert Arenas reveals everybody hated Kobe Bryant's Mamba Mentality

Gilbert Arenas spills cold truth on Kobe Bryant: "Everybody hated the Mamba Mentality"

Gilbert Arenas dished out some truth bombs about Kobe Bryant's dreaded mantra

Magic Johnson wants the Lakers to give Russell Westbrook another chance

Magic Johnson advises the Los Angeles Lakers to keep Russell Westbrook: “Take him out, take him to dinner”

Magic Johnson said that keeping Russell Westbrook for another year is better than trading him in exchange for long-lasting bad contracts.