This qualifies as one of the 72 “Greatest” Moments in NBA History Recently, a certain ESPN writer that I typically enjoy has been besmirching the good name of Robert E. Lee Pettit, Jr. Hmm… okay, when you see the man’s full name questions get raised. No wonder Bob Pettit just goes by “Bob Pettit”.
As a boy growing up in New York in the 50s, I somehow adopted the St. Louis Hawks as “my team”. Until years later I did not know that Bob Pettit had been cut from his high school team twice, before his determination to achieve, practicing for hours, earned him a spot, and the rest is legendary. Although there was no television coverage of his 50 point championship clinching game (that I’m aware of), I DO have a CD of the radio broadcast of the fourth quarter, where he scored 19 of the Hawks’ 21 points in a one point win. I treasure that and was thrilled to see him appear at All-Star weekend, when the top 75 players of the NBA’s 75 years were honored.
Thanks for giving Mr. Pettit some much deserved love. Speaking of which, I appreciate that Pettit ALWAYS acknowledges how much better the game is now. Some of his peers (cough, Oscar) could stand to read a page out of that book. Or a whole damn chapter.
This is an outstanding write-up. I learned a lot. I knew Pettit was in the Hall of Fame but little else about him. Interesting he pioneered the jump shot. I am sure you have written about Elgin Baylor before (I will scan your archives) but I feel like he invented hang time and few give him credit for that as well. Thanks. Just signed up for a paid subscription to support your work.