Robert E. Lee Pettit ( born December 12, 1932 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana ) is a retired American professional basketball player. Between 1954 and 1965 he played in the NBA for the crew of the Milwaukee Hawks / Saint Louis Hawks, with whom he won a championship in 1958. Pettit is 2,06 m tall and played mostly on the position of power forward, but could also play center.
Although Pettit was "only" 2.06 meters tall and 98 kg easily, he had played at the Louisiana State University solely on the position of the center. When he was drafted in 1954 by the Hawks, NBA observers doubted whether the conditions for NBA diminutive and lightweight Pettit could exist as a center. Pettit punished all doubters lies and was voted Rookie of the Year after a strong debut season ( 20.4 points and 13.8 rebounds per game ) in 1955. He impressed by his ability to pull the basket and provoke Fouls: in seven of his ten - year NBA he threw 10 or more free throws per game. This is particularly noteworthy since his time several fouls were punished only with a place today throughout with two free throws.
1956 Pettit played another outstanding season ( 25.7 ppg, 16.2 rpg ) and won the first NBA Most Valuable Player Award NBA history. Nevertheless, the Hawks remained in Table basement until they exchanged 1956/57, the draft rights to Bill Russell against Ed Macauley Center and forward Cliff Hagan. With Macauley as Pettit Center was finally able to move on his desire power forward position. The Hawks came into the NBA Finals in 1957 and lost unhappy with 3:4 against the Boston Celtics, with Game 7 went into overtime. 1958 won the Hawks in the finals of the new edition with a 4-2 win over the Celtics, with Pettit in the decisive Game 6 scored a 50-point game and he led to their first and only title St. Louis.
1959 Pettit was elected for the second time MVP and led the Hawks in 1960 and 1961 two more times against the Celtics in the NBA Finals, where they lost both times. Ironically, Bill Russell was the best player of the finals series in both cases. Pettit was elected 10 times during his career into orbit NBA First Team ( 1955-1964 ). In addition, he was nominated in each of his 11 seasons for the NBA All-Star Game. He was the first NBA player to reach the 20,000 point mark. To date, he has the third best career rebound average, according to Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell, with 16.2 rebounds per season.
Except for winning the championship when he beat his team the Boston Celtics, he was with the Hawks four more times in the finals, but they were all lost to the Celtics.
1971 Petit was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.