An influential Louisiana lawmaker is pushing a resolution urging LSU to erect a statue on campus in memory of the late LSU basketball icon Peter Press “Pistol Pete” Maravich.
Senate President John Alario’s proposal, Senate Concurrent Resolution 63, would “urge and request” the LSU Board of Supervisors to build the statue in front of the basketball arena that bears Maravich’s name. The resolution, introduced Wednesday, doesn’t identify a funding source for the proposed statue. Louisiana colleges, including LSU, could face up to an 82 percent hit to state funding in the coming year as legislators grapple with a $1.6 billion budget shortfall.
But the resolution does list accomplishments that it says make it “only fitting and appropriate for a statue to be erected” in honor of what it describes as “the skinny kid with the floppy hair, the droopy socks and amazing flair and genius with a basketball.”
Maravich died of heart failure in 1988 at the age of 40.
LSU honored Shaquille O’Neal with a statue outside the PMAC in 2011.
But one hurdle for Maravich getting the same honor has been that he doesn’t meet the requirements set out in the university’s formal Hall of Fame process. Maravich did not earn a degree from LSU before going pro — a fact omitted from Alario’s resolution proposal.
Gov. Bobby Jindal also has urged LSU administrators to honor Maravich’s memory with a statue.
“This would be an appropriate way to memorialize such a significant figure in LSU and Louisiana history, and I offer my full support of such a project,” Jindal wrote last year in a letter to the LSU Board, which is appointed by the governor. He sent copies of it on official Governor’s Office letterhead to LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva, LSU President and Chancellor F. King Alexander and members of the LSU Hall of Fame Committee.
Jindal didn’t provide options for funding the project, either.
Jindal spokeswoman Shannon Bates Dirmann said Wednesday that “the governor remains fully supportive of all efforts to build a statue” of Maravich on campus.
“Pete Maravich is an LSU legend who is deserving of this memorial,” she said.