In an era of freshmen ineligibility, crowds packed college basketball arenas to watch him play and then left before the varsity team took the floor. He scored 3,667 points in his three years of college eligibility, averaged 44.2 points per game, and led the nation in scoring three years in a row. He scored over 50 points twenty-eight times in his college career. When he left college, he owned nearly twenty scoring records. In his senior year, he was named College Player of the Year. He played in the NBA for ten seasons and was an All-Star for four years. He is among the top fifty players ever to play in the NBA and was the youngest man ever elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame. His name was "Pistol" Pete Maravich, and despite his fame, fortune, and success, he was not happy. After his retirement in 1980, Maravich began searching for a reason to live. In his quest for peace and fulfillment, he dabbled in astrology, mysticism, survivalism, and UFOs. He even contemplated suicide once as he raced his Porsche over a bridge at 140 m.p.h. And then he met Jesus Christ. That personal relationship gave Maravich a new outlook on life and a new sense of purpose. Before long, Pete was sharing his testimony with anyone who would listen. He spoke about the emptiness of his former life without Christ, despite the fact that he had just about everything a young man could ever want. James Dobson heard of his conversion, and invited Pete to appear on his Focus on the Family radio program in 1988. After the interview, the two men played a game of pick-up basketball with several others. When the game ended, Dobson turned to Maravich and said, "Pete, you can't give up basketball. This game means too much to you." Pete explained that he had been experiencing pain in his right shoulder for more than a year, but that it had suddenly disappeared. "I feel just great," he said. Those were his last words. Maravich collapsed on the basketball court and, minutes later, died at the age of forty in Dobson's arms on January 5, 1988. Shortly before he died, Maravich sent a Bible to talk show host Larry King. Inside the Bible was this hand-written letter: Dear Larry, I'm so glad to hear that everything went well with your surgery. I want you to know that God was watching over you every minute and even though I know you question that, I also know that one day it will be revealed to you. My prayer is that you remain open and God will touch your life as He has mine. Once I was a disbeliever. When I could not fill my life with basketball, I would simply substitute sex, liquid drugs, or material things to feed my internal shell-like appearance. I was never satisfied. I have finally realized, after 40 years, that Jesus Christ is in me. He will reveal His truth to you, Larry, because He lives. -Pistol Pete

source: Youth Specialties Email tags: Salvation, Success, Fame