March 19, 2008
So my teammate Blake Ahearn and I are watching an NBA game on TNT when somebody (I think it was Bill Walton) questions who the top five white guys in the league are right now. I never realized how tough it would be to compose such a list. There's only one clear lock and that's Chris Kaman. Beyond him, it's really just completely up in the air. What really makes it tough to figure out is that fact that only Americans count. Steve Nash is out. Dirk is out. Man, even Peja is out.
I guess we took more of an issue with the topic because Blake has been killing the D-League lately and guess what? He has a certain lack of melanin in his skin, if you know what I mean. Still, he's averaging nearly 20 points a game on the season, and ever since he cracked the starting line-up a month ago, he has led the league in scoring at almost 30 a game. Those are some red-hot numbers. I don't care where you play; the scoring leader always deserves a certain amount of recognition. I'm just the lowly rebounding leader. He is the big time point scorer.
Blake and I always joke that he is the best white guy to ever play in the D-League. Obviously there's Matt Carroll and some others, but who has scored 30 a game with ease? Who dropped 40 in a game? I've got serious D-League experience and I have yet to see it.
Well, Blake and I have been watching a lot of college hoops lately too. I mean, it's that time of year so that's all there is to do. Anyways, we were watching a game on ESPN when they announced that the number one college player of all time was Lew Alcindor. I felt that it was an excellent choice. Congrats Kareem on the notoriety. The thing about the list that Blake and I got into it about was that Pistol Pete was at #5 all time.
See, I don't have a problem with him being at five, especially considering how many things he pioneered in my sport. I did have an issue with the whole list though. I feel that players should be ranked by their era, because the list is real biased to the old school ballers. I told Blake that I don't think that Pistol would average 44 points today, and I certainly don't think that if he played today, even if he was a first-team All-American and national player of the year, that he would be ranked in the top five players of all time.
Obviously Blake and I got into a heated debate about Pistol Pete after my statements. They were pretty bold statements. I stand by them though. I think that even if Michael Beasley stayed at K-State for four years and had those numbers all four years, he wouldn't crack the top 10 college hoopers of all time. The list just favors old school players in my opinion. Furthermore, I think defenses are better, and players are more athletic today, thus making it tougher for a guy to score 44 points EVERY NIGHT. Could I be wrong? Yeah, but that's why you talk sports. You want that hypothetical discussion that can only be sparked for a list such as the top college hoopers of all time.
Blake doesn't care what I say. He says Pistol would average 44 on anybody, at any time, and still be in the top five college players of all time, if not the top NBA players of all time. As we argued this out, it became apparent to me that Blake thought of Pistol as more than a man, but as some sort of superhuman hoops superman who could do it all.
The next day, in the spirit of our discussion, I sent Blake a text. We were looking for a ride to the gym so we could do our usual routine of early shots a couple hours before game time. While we were still searching I typed up a message and sent him this:
"Pistol Pete would speed dribble to the gym right now."
Blake responded with a text of his own:
"Pistol Pete converted a 1-and-1 on one shot!"
And so began our ridiculous praise of Pistol Pete.
Today before we went to shoot-around I sent him a text that said:
"Pistol Pete already had shoot-around, problem is he doesn't need to practice shooting."
I have decided that Pistol Pete is now the Chuck Norris of hoops. He is on a completely different level than other ballers. For example, did you know that a Pistol Pete spin-dribble started Hurricane Katrina? I bet you didn't know that he had a 7-point play on a free throw, or that his chest pass wound up being our best attack during the Vietnam War. It's too bad he never had to pass! Pistol is a legend. Some other things you may not know about him include:
* When he ran suicides, he called them baby-makers.
* He could have averaged 50 points a game, but he likes palindromes.
* Shaquille O'Neal only took the name 'Diesel' because Pistol took Premium.
* It wasn't March Madness until Pistol got angry.
* Dick Vitale sounded like Jay Bilas until he saw Pistol's crossover.
* ESPN originally stood for "Every Shot of Pistols is Notable."
I guess that's just how Pistol Pete does it. That's why he is the best. If you have any other "Pistol Pete Facts" I can send to Blake, let me know. Boom.
Rod Benson is a Cal grad who plays for the D-League's Dakota Wizards. He also blogs every Monday, Wednesday and Friday on Ball Don't Lie. Read his archive, pay a visit to TooMuchRodBenson.com and always support the Boom Tho movement.