|Tuesday, October 29
Updated: October 30, 3:54 PM ET
Maravich's number being retired in New Orleans
NEW ORLEANS -- Hornets coach Paul Silas started chuckling when asked how he remembered "Pistol Pete'' Maravich, whose number will be retired before the Hornets' inaugural New Orleans home opener against the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night.
"For him to come along and do some of the things he did for a white boy was kind of shocking,'' said Silas, who played against Maravich during the 1970s, when Maravich was with the old New Orleans Jazz. "He kind of played like he was on a playground all the time. He was so great, the ball seemed to be on a string every time he had it. He was a great shooter.''
Among Silas' favorite memories of Maravich was a shot from the corner of the court at the end of a half.
"He let go of a hook, ran to the locker room and didn't even look -- and the ball swished right through the basket,'' Silas recalled.
Silas said Maravich's ball handling and flamboyant court presence was ahead of its time and more more akin to today's style of play.
"Guys back then did not dribble the ball behind their back, between their legs ... they could not dribble the ball with each hand equally as well,'' Silas says. "He had that flair about him which was at that time not really acceptable in certain circles.''
In addition to the Maravich ceremony, the Hornets have planned a host of pregame activities in New Orleans' festive and musical tradition.
Mayor Ray Nagin has proclaimed Wednesday "Teal Day'' -- teal is the Hornets predominant uniform color -- to commemorate the return of the NBA after 23 years.
A Halloween-themed "Spooktacular'' begins about two hours before tipoff outside the arena, with fortune tellers, fire performers, face painters, costumed performers and a best-costume contest.
The band Rockin' Dopsie Jr. and the Zydeco Twisters will play outside before the game, then homegrown celebrity Aaron Neville will sing the national anthem and perform at halftime.