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PISTOL PETE WAS ALMOST A GLOBETROTTER “I was offered a million-dollar contract”


In the 1980s ESPN Up Close interview with sports anchor Roy Firestone, the basketball Great Pistol Pete Maravich reflected on some fascinating, mythical moments from his legendary career. When asked about the Harlem Globetrotters offer to play with them, Maravich replied affirmatively, revealing the details.

I was offered a million-dollar contract to play with the GlobeTrotters. During my senior year in college, I was going back and forth, analyzing who I wanted to play with. Of course, I had ABA after me. Carolina Cougars, I was dealing with them. I was dealing with Atlanta Hawks. And also with the Harlem Globetrotters.”

Pistol Pete Maravich, ESPN Up Close

At the time, million-dollar contracts in pro basketball were considered nothing less than astronomical! 

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The fact that may serve as a specific reference point in this is that the era of astronomical pro deals was opened in 1967 when the Princeton small forward Bill Bradley, represented by agent Larry Fleisher, signed a four-year deal with the New York Knicks worth $750,000. That was three years before LSU phenomenon Maravich began his pro career with the Atlanta Hawks.

I've basically had three ways to go, three directions. It was a lot of flattery. I guess a lot of people may say that speaks of the type of player he was, but I considered that flattery because the game itself today is that type of game - it's a game of spectacular moves, spectacular plays.

Pistol Pete Maravich, ESPN Up Close

If Maravich eventually joined the Globetrotters, he would have become the third white player in the history of this unique global exhibition basketball squad, founded in 1926. 

Two only white players who had been with the team to that point were Abe Saperstein (founder, owner, coach, and a substitute player) and Bob Karstens (GlobeTrotter legend and the originator of the Magic Circle).

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