Throughout the history of the NBA, there have been many players who made a large impact on the game. Bob Pettit is one of them.
Pettit was drafted into the NBA just 9 years after it was founded and is considered one of the greatest power forwards of all time. He is one of only 4 players who has been named to all 4 NBA anniversary teams along with Bob Cousy, George Mikan, and Bill Russell.
When looking into the best betting picks in the NBA, it is important to understand the legacy that the previous players left behind. These legacies impact how future players perform as they are influenced by their predecessors.
In this article, we outline the impressive history of Pettit and how he is still regarded as one of the greats decades later.
Pettit was born on December 12th, 1932 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He first played basketball at Baton Rouge High School. He was originally cut from the varsity team but after improving his skills via practice and growing 5 inches in one year, he later joined the team as a junior.
As a senior, he led the team to its first state championship in over 20 years. After his successful showing in high school, he accepted a scholarship to Louisiana State University after receiving offers at 14 universities.
Pettit made his varsity debut in 1952 and averaged 25.5 points per game ranking him third for scoring in the nation. By his senior year, he had upped his average to 31.4 points per game and led his team to second place in the league.
He is a member of the LSU Hall of Fame and was inducted in 1954.
Pettit was drafted to the Milwaukee Hawks in 1954 and stayed with them his whole career. His contract at the time was for $11,000, an all-time high for a rookie.
Despite doubts that he wouldn’t transition well from college basketball to the NBA, he won the NBA Rookie of the Year award in 1955 after averaging 20.4 points and 13.8 rebounds per game. He is also the second rookie to win All-NBA honors.
Little after his debut, the Milwaukee Hawks moved and became the St. Louis Hawks. The first season after the move Pettit won 33 games.
Pettit became the first player to win the NBA MVP award in the 1955-56 season. He would go on to win it again in 1959.
In 1956, Pettit was awarded MVP of the All-Star Game which he would go on to win a further 3 times in 1958, 1959, and 1962.
Pettit won his first and only NBA championship in 1958. He led the 1958-59 season in scoring with a 29.2 average points per game (an NBA record at the time) which led him to be named NBA MVP by Sporting News.
In the 1960-61 season, Pettit scored an average of 27.9 points per game but also 20.3 rebounds per game. He became one of three players (the others being Wilt Chamberlain and Jerry Lucas) to score above 20 average points and 20 average rebounds in a season. In this same season, he scored his career high of 57 points and 28 rebounds in one game.
He became the first player to get over the 20,000-point mark and by the time of his retirement in 1965 he had scored 20,880 points with an average of 26.4 points per game with almost a third of all his points being from free throws.
Pettit retired in 1965 after missing 30 games due to injuries at what many believed to be the peak of his game. After his retirement from the NBA, he went into banking and financial consulting.
Pettit was named to the 25th, 35th, 50th, and 75th NBA anniversary team and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1970.
Throughout his career, Pettit was named NBA MVP twice and was named to an All-NBA team for every season he took part in. He was named to the All-NBA first team for all of his seasons bar the last where he was named to the All-NBA second team. He was also an NBA All-Star for each of his eleven seasons.
The St. Louise Hawks moved their final time to Atlanta in 1968 and Pettits number 6 jersey was the first number they retired. His number 50 jersey was also retired by Louisiana State University in 1954.
Pettit managed to average at least 20 points and 12 rebounds per game in every one of his 11 seasons. He is also the only retired NBA player (who has played more than 3 seasons) to have averaged more than 20 points per game in every one of his seasons.
As a player, Pettit dominated early on and continued to play to his best until his retirement. His ability to play every game to a consistent standard has forever made his name go down in NBA history.