DAILY DIRT: Caitlin Clark is a magnificent talent, but let’s not overlook the majesty of Pistol Pete


Steve is old enough to have watched both Clark and Maravich play, although "Pistol" Pete was hardly ever on television.

Daily Dirt for Thursday, March 7, 2024

Maravich would have been must-see TV in his day, except telecasts of him weer few and far between … Welcome to today’s three thoughts that make up Vol. 887 of The Daily Dirt.

1. Let me be perfectly clear.

I absolutely love Caitlin Clark and enjoy watching her play basketball.

But there’s something I have to get off my chest about her becoming the NCAA’s all-time leading scorer, regardless of gender.

First and foremost, I am in no way trying to imply she is not worthy or does not deserve the honor.

She most certainly does.

What I’d like everyone to remember — or possibly come to terms with — is just how marvelous a talent Pete Maravich was. Pete’s the guy Caitlin recently surpassed to become the all-time leading scorer.

Sure, I’m an old guy. When I was growing up in the late 1960s, Pete was The Man. Unlike the world in which we live today, I got to watch Pete play on national television TWICE in his three years at LSU. National telecasts were Saturday afternoons and occasionally a Saturday night. We had no ESPN or any of the other cable/satellite outlets that proliferate our choices today.

But that’s another story for another day. What I want to point out today is the simple majesty of Pistol Pete:

  • He played 83 games at LSU, covering three years. At that time, freshmen were not permitted to play at the varsity level. Caitlin has played 130 in four years, and still has the Big Ten and NCAA tournaments remaining.
  • And then there is the matter of 3-pointers. Former LSU coach Dale Brown reportedly charted every shot Pete Maravich took in college and found that if there had been a 3-point line, he would’ve averaged 57.0 points per game. Where would that have put Pistol Pete in three with LSU? How about 4,731 career points! And let’s suppose he had played as a freshman with that career average…6,308 points! Caitlin Clark currently has 3,685 career points.
  • There was also no shot clock at the time Maravich played. Opponents would often hold the ball just to keep Maravich under control as much as possible.

None of this is meant to disparage Caitlin Clark, who is the most exciting female player I have ever watched. It’s simply meant to point out what an equally marvelous talent Pete Maravich was.

2. Strange, but true facts you can use to win an argument today:

  • Barbra Streisand, Neil Diamond and Bobby Fischer were all in the same high school choir.
  • The person playing the guitar in the famous James Bond “Goldfinger” theme? None other than Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin fame.
  • Famed Irish novelist, dramatist, short story writer, theatre director, poet and literary translator Samuel Beckett used to give his neighbors’ kids a ride to school. One of those kids was Andre Roussimoff — later known as Andre the Giant, famous pro wrestler.

3. The week’s best of “Found on Facebook”:

  • “I accidentally rubbed ketchup in my eyes. Now I have Heinzsight.”
  • “Two fish are swimming in a lake. One of them hits a cement wall and says, ‘Dam’.”
  • “What do you call a cow with no legs? Ground beef.”
  • “Last night I dreamed I was a vinyl record. I woke up feeling groovy.”
  • “Racecar backwards is racecar. Racecar upside down is expensive.”

Steve Thought O’ The Day — I was told this week to cut an ocean in half you need a sea-saw.

Steve Eighinger writes daily for Muddy River News. Clark vs. Maravich is apples vs. oranges. Enjoy and celebrate both.

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