What You Need To Know:
THE PISTOL: BIRTH OF A LEGEND is a subtle movie. Aimed at the general public, its message is woven into the story with such scenes as a brief locker room prayer and a reference to life's moments being precious gifts that need to be shared with someone.
Nothing objectionable, except use of the word "butthead"
THE PISTOL is an illuminating, well-produced sports drama that tells how the legend behind basketball great Pete Maravich began. The story takes place in Clemson, S.C. during the basketball season of 1959.
Pete, a 5′ 2″ 8th-grader at Daniel High School, is shooting hoops in his backyard court in the rain. Pete’s father, Preston Maravich, is seen to be the single greatest influence in the 13-year-old’s life. To Preston, the greatest things a father can pass down to his son are his dreams. “With patience and persistence,” he tells Pete, “dreams are possible.”
Preston’s motivational talks build confidence in Pete. He also gives him drills and teaches Pete to shoot a basketball from the hips.
At school, Pete thinks of himself as a social misfit. Nor is he received with open arms when the high school team’s basketball coach permits Pete to play with the varsity. Too good for his own good, Pete is benched for the next ten games, but his confidence tells him he’s better than any of the starting seniors.
Preston tells Pete he is on the right track, and if he’ll dedicate himself to becoming better by using his God-given abilities, he will accomplish things he never thought possible. So Pete keeps at it, taking a basketball everywhere he goes, dribbling it down railroad tracks, while bicycling, or even when blindfolded. For Pete, it’s tough being a kid chasing a grown-up dream, and his mom, sensing her son’s hurt, wants him to quit the team, but Preston says the pain will build character.
The going is not made easier by the team’s coach, who resents Pete’s circus skills, which he likens to the “showboat ball” from the negroes across the tracks. However, at Preston’s urging, he finally plays Pete, and Pete wins the game for the team! A local reporter notes how Pete shoots from the hip like a gunfighter, and the next day in the papers “Pistol Pete” is born.
Daniel High School goes on to win the state championship, but Preston says it will be a hollow victory unless they beat the best team around: Cleveland High, an all black school. Convinced that he has seen the future of basketball, Preston attempts to persuade the players that they must take on this all black team, otherwise they will never be the best in the state.
An unsanctioned game, Preston’s parting words to his son, which prophetically glimpse the years to come, are to “give the fans a show they’ll never forget, and they’ll come back again and again.”
The fans did come back, again and again, to watch this truly great star, who created a magical moment for them in which their imaginations could soar and believe anything was possible. Pete Maravich died of congenital heart failure. He was the youngest inductee ever into the basketball hall of fame.
THE PISTOL: BIRTH OF A LEGEND is a finely crafted, subtle movie. It is aimed at the general public, and its message is woven into the fabric of the storyline with such scenes as a brief locker room prayer and a reference to each of life’s moments being like a precious gifts that need to be shared with someone.
Nothing but good basketball here. At one point, for instance, Pete is challenged to spin a basketball on his fingertips for an hour, which he makes appear effortless.
After he came to know the Lord, Pistol Pete spent the last two years of his life coaching inner city youth. In the film, Adam Guier plays the Pistol, and what a testimony that through the making of the film, this young man has come to know the Lord, too.
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