Pete Maravich Played Just 26 Games With the Boston Celtics but Had a Heated Moment With Teammate Larry Bird

Draymond Green punching teammate Jordan Poole isn’t the norm, but intense arguments at practices happen. Sometimes, they happen during games.

That was the case with the Miami Heat in March when they battled for the top seed in the East. During a blowout loss to Green’s Warriors, Miami star Jimmy Butler, Udonis Haslem, and head coach Erik Spoelstra all had words during the second half of the game, making postgame highlights. That triggered a memory from former Boston Celtics star Cedric Maxwell.

Maxwell said those things happen. He recalled a similar incident between future Hall of Famers Pete Maravich and Larry Bird when they were teammates in Boston.

Pete Maravich ended his NBA career with the Boston Celtics

Pete Maravich of the Boston Celtics shoots over Kevin Grevey of the Washington Bullets during a late circa 1970s NBA basketball game at the Capital Center in Baltimore, Maryland. | Focus on Sport/Getty Images.

Maravich was the third overall pick in the 1970 NBA Draft, selected by the Atlanta Hawks. The 6-foot-5 shooting guard spent the first four seasons of his illustrious career in Atlanta, averaging 24.3 points and 5.6 assists.

In 1974, the Hawks traded Maravich to the expansion New Orleans Jazz for four draft picks and two players. Maravich was back home after playing his college ball at LSU. He spent six years with the New Orleans/Utah Jazz, and he had his most productive year during the 1976-77 season when he led the NBA in scoring at 31.1 points per game.

An All-Star in his final two seasons with the Hawks, Maravich racked up three more All-Star seasons with the Jazz. Knee problems plagued Maravich at the end of his career. In January 1980, the Jazz placed him on waivers, and he signed with the Celtics.

Maravich was paired with Bird, a rookie who helped turn around a struggling Celtics franchise. In Bird’s first season, the Celtics won 61 games. The previous season, they won 29.

Maravich and Bird once got into a heated argument, shocking teammate Cedric Maxwell

Maravich played just 26 regular-season games for the Celtics. For the first time in his career, he didn’t have to be a focal point of the offense. He was a role player with bad knees.

He was a veteran. Bird was a rookie. According to Maxwell, the two had a heated argument during a timeout of a regular-season game. Maravich was showing his veteran leadership. Bird was just being Bird. Maxwell told the story when he was asked to recall if he remembered any fights or arguments between teammates when he was playing for the Celtics. The question was posed in March right after the incident involving Butler and Spoelstra.

“Well, my best story is probably Pete Maravich and Larry Bird,” Maxwell said, per NBC Sports Boston. “Pete Maravich passed the ball to Larry. Pete’s man went to double-team Larry. Larry puts up a tough shot, and a timeout is called.

“We come to the timeout, and Pete Maravich says to Larry, ‘Larry, Larry, they’re double-teaming you. You can’t force up those kind of shots.’ Larry looks up and goes, ‘If you were any damn good, they wouldn’t be double-teaming me.’

“This is one Hall of Famer to another. I was in shock. Later, they talked and worked it out. Guys get into each other’s face all the time, but it’s not as public as that was. You’ll see that all the time with players, especially if you’re competitive.”

“Pistol” Pete Maravich died suddenly at the age of 40 after collapsing during a pickup game in Pasadena, California, in January 1988.

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