Shaq and Pistol Pete — we can’t think of two better statues at the heart of LSU’s athletic complex.
There already is a statue of Shaquille O’Neal at the Maravich Assembly Center, and it is quite an appropriate recognition of an LSU basketball legend. He played in the Assembly Center before going on to the NBA and super-stardom.
Maravich was nevertheless one of the greats, too.
He played at the old basketball arena in what is now the John M. Parker Agricultural Center. His popularity helped raise the profile of LSU basketball and led to the construction of the Assembly Center.
Maravich still ranks as the leading NCAA Division I scorer with 3,667 points. That extraordinary talent from a skinny player with socks flopping out of his shoes helped to make basketball into a star sport in the LSU pantheon; little wonder is it that the Assembly Center is known as the house that Pete built.
Pistol Pete later played for the New Orleans Jazz, the National Basketball Association franchise in the late 1970s and died at age 40 of a heart defect.
A statue on the site has been discussed before but — this being LSU — it has been a source of some dispute. However, Gov. Bobby Jindal recently pushed the idea with LSU administrators. The governor rightly pointed to Pistol Pete’s accomplishments.
LSU has an administrative process for placing statues and memorials around the campus, and we want the regular procedures to be followed.
Yet we think that the governor’s suggestion is a good one, and he could be instrumental in raising the private funds that would be appropriate for such an honor for Maravich.
One of Pistol Pete’s trademarks was his work ethic. In a world in which making it the easy way seems to be the only way, it would not hurt for the generations of young people to learn a little something about a young man who made it by working at it. And working at it and working at it.