LOS ANGELES — Even at 65 years old, “The Iceman” is still as competitive as they come.
Immediately following Sunday night’s NBA All-Star Game in Los Angeles, NBA legend George Gervin strolled around the Staples Center floor, mingling with fans, but he still hasn’t forgotten about his classic H-O-R-S-E duel with former Utah Jazz star “Pistol Pete” Maravich.
“He shouldn’t have beat me,” Gervin said.
Yeah, it happened four decades ago back when the H-O-R-S-E was included in the All-Star events.
Gervin and Maravich were in the national spotlight on CBS Sports, where they battled in the backyard hoops contest during the 1978 NBA All-Star Weekend in Atlanta. The object is to try and duplicate the other player’s shot and if you can't then you acquire a letter. The first to reach H-O-R-S-E is eliminated.
Gervin was knocked out of the H-O-R-S-E semifinals by Maravich due to Pistol Pete's deluge of tricks. However, Gervin still finished as the league’s scoring champion for the 1977-78 season with the San Antonio Spurs.
He also made the All-NBA First Team with Julius Erving, David Thompson, Bill Walton and Truck Robinson. That classic H-O-R-S-E footage of Maravich versus Gervin is now uploaded to YouTube and is often shared on social media where it has become somewhat of a cult classic.
“It was good, man. To play against Pete and to be in the finals with it being as competitive as it was,” Gervin reflected. “Pete is a trick shot artist and that’s what he ended up beating me with, with one of his old trick shots and I give it all to Pete.
“He was one of the guys I’ve always respected and respected his game and what he could do with that basketball,” he added. “Very few people could do with that basketball what Pete can do. He’s one of the guys when you play HORSE, I don’t mind losing to him.”
Although H-O-R-S-E is no longer included in the list of All-Star events, the league did attempt to bring it back in 2009 and 2010 with Kevin Durant winning both times. If executed right, Gervin thinks it could still be a fun event for fans to experience during the All-Star festivities.
NBA All-Star Weekend now only consists of the actual game as well as the Rising Stars Challenge, Celebrity Game, Skills Challenge, Three-Point Contest and Slam Dunk Contest.
“I think it would be fun if some guys be serious,” Gervin said of seeing H-O-R-S-E return. “We were serious. We always competed and loved to beat each other so if they bring it back and be serious I think it would be nice.”