Robert Lee Pettit Jr. (born December 12, 1932) is a retired basketball player who played in the NBA between 1954 and 1965. Pettit is one of the earliest stars in the NBA, who set precedent for the exceptional performance, players such as Jerry West, Moses Malone, Kobe Bryant, and LeBron James will later go on to display in the course of the NBA. His impressive skills in the league made him not just an outstanding player but the most phenomenal of his time. As proven by the records and awards he won, Pettit is an incredible player, and years after his retirement, his performance still remains one of the best in the NBA. In this Bob Pettit biography, childhood, facts, career and personal life, we’ll review the life of the retired NBA star.
Bob Pettit’s Biography Facts, Age, Quick Info
Here are some quick facts you should know about the retired American basketball player.
- Full Name: Robert Lee Pettit Jr.
- Nickname: Big Blue
- Born: December 12, 1932
- Age: 87 years old
- Place of Birth: Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA
- Nationality: American
- Height: 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m)
- Weight: 93 kg (205 lb)
- High School: Baton Rouge High School
- College: Louisiana State University
- NBA Draft: 1954 (Round 1, 2nd Pick) Milwaukee Hawks
- Position: Power Forward/Center
- League: NBA
- Kit Number: #9
- Playing Career: 19854–2065 (Milwaukee Hawks/St. Louis Hawks)
- Wife: Carole Crowell (deceased)
- Zodiac Sign: Sagittarius
Bob Pettit’s Early Life & Childhood
Born in 1932, Pettit father served as the sheriff of East Baton Rouge Parish between 1932 and 1936. From a young age, Pettit had an interest in playing basketball and though he played regularly, he had the skills and was talented but his height proved to be an issue. In high school, Baton Rouge High School, Pettit was not part of the basketball team in his first and second year due to issues with his height.
Unable to represent his high school in tournaments, he played church league basketball and with constant encouragement from his father, he improved his skills. Armed with impressive basketball prowess and with the right hight, he was picked to be part of his school’s basketball team in his Junior year. His performance in his Junior year earned him a place in the All-City prep team. In his senior year, Pettit led his high school to its first championship in the state of Louisiana for the first time in 20 years.
Bob Pettit’s College Career
Following his impressive performance in his senior year, he received scholarship offers from 14 Universities but chose to attend the Louisiana State University. He debuted for LSU in 1952. In his first season, he topped the South East Conference scoring charts and also helped his team finish in second place in the league. He was thus named to the All-SEC team. In his second year, he wins the SEC scoring trophy.
In his Junior year, Pettit led LSU to claim the SEC trophy for the second time in the history of the University. He also led his team to finish in the final four in the NCAA. For his performance, he received All-American and All-SEC honours. In his senior year, he once more helped LSU win another SEC title and also received All-American and All-SEC honours. At the completion of his final season with LSU in 1954, his jersey, the #50 jersey was retired as a result of his performance for LSU.
Bob Pettit’s Professional Career, Stats, Achievements & Awards
Milwaukee Hawks (1954–1965)
On completion of his college education, Pettit entered the 1954 NBA Draft and was chosen as the draft’s overall second pick by the Milwaukee Hawks. He then went on to sign a deal with the Hucks worth $11,000.
In his first season in the league, Pettit had to be moved from his traditional centre position to the forward position due to the fact that he couldn’t cope with the bruises as well as his weight. But he adapted well in his new position and earned the NBA Rookie of the Year award. He also received All-NBA honours. His performance though was not enough to help the Hawks as they finished last in the Western Conference. After his first season with the Hawks, they moved to St. Louis.
In his second season in the league, Pettit received All-star game invitation. In the All-star game, he was awarded the MVP award. He also won the regular-season MVP award and emerged as the NBA top scorer. He also received All-NBA First Team honour. The 1956/57 season, his third season in the league, Pettit led the Hawks to the NBA Finals, where they lost to the Boston Celtics. The next season, Pettit was at his best as he won the All-star game MVP award for the second time and also led the Hawks to another NBA Finals where they defeated the Celtics to win the NBA Championship.
In the 1958/59 season, Pettit was in incredible form, but the Hawks couldn’t defend their Championship win. He, however, led the NBA in scoring and received the All-star game and regular-season MVP awards. The following season, Pettit in his usual top form led the Hawks once more to the NBA finals, but this time the Boston Celtics conquered the Hawks. The next season, the 1961 season, the Hawks met a similar feat in the NBA Finals. That season, he recorded 20.3 rebounds per game, making him one of five players in the NBA to record such a feat.
In the 1962 season, though the Hawks didn’t make it to the finals, he became the first NBA player to surpass 20,000 points. He also won his fourth and final NBA ALL-STAR game MVP award. From the 1963 season until his retirement in the 1965 season, Pettit remained an excellent player in the league receiving All-star honours as well All-NBA First team honours, except for the 1965 season where he missed out but was named to the All-NBA Second Team. Throughout all the seasons he played in the league he was named to the All-star game and received All-NBA First team honours, except the 1965 season.
Bob Pettit’s Personal Life
In 1965, Petit got married to Carole Crowell. Carole Crowell gave birth to three children for him. They also have 10 grandchildren. In 2010, Petit became a widower.
After his basketball career, Pettit went on to work in the banking industry. He worked in the industry for 23 years for notable banks in Metairie and Baton Rouge.
After a successful career in banking, Pettit proceeded to financial consulting. He founded a financial consulting firm, Equitas Capital Investors, and in 2006 he retired from the firm.
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