One of the most prolific basketball players of all time, Bob Pettit is a 91-year-old retired American NBA player. He is the first man to receive the NBA’s Most Valuable Player Award. He retired from basketball after ten years, later took a career in the banking sector, and co-founded a financial consulting company.
In his personal life, Pettit was married to his long-term wife, Carole Crowell, and they had three children before her death in 2010. There’s more about Pettit’s life, career, love, wife, children, and grandchildren. Let’s dive right into it!
Pettit was Born 91 Years Ago In The Capital City of Louisiana
The former basketball player was born Robert E. Lee Pettit Jr. on December 12, 1932. He was born in Baton Rouge, the capital city of Louisiana.
Pettit hails from a small family and is the only son of Robert E. Lee Pettit and Margaret Pettit. His parents had successful career lives in their own rights. His father, Bob Sr., was a county sheriff, while his mother, Margaret, was a realtor.
At a young age, Pettit Jr. developed an interest in athletics. He participated in different sports such as football, basketball, and baseball while attending Baton Rouge High School in Louisiana.
Well, his height at the time was more in tune with basketball, as he grew taller than many of his peers. Unfortunately, for him at the time, his basketball skills were not in tune with his height.
Luckily for him, he had his father, who encouraged him despite the young Pettit’s failure in basketball.
With this encouragement, the 6-foot-9-inch-tall former basketball player pushed harder and practiced more for hours in his family’s backyard.
It didn’t take much time for him to be noticed. He played and became a key player at Baton Rouge High School, a public magnet school in Louisiana.
He played both in his junior and senior years on the school’s team. At age 18, in 1950, he led his team to its first championship in over 20 years. The team also became the first all-state center.
He Started His Collegian Career with Self-Doubt But Finished as One of the Best in History
Pettit’s high school career drew much attention, and by the end of his high school year, he was offered scholarships from 14 universities.
He opted to move to LSU because he did not believe he could live up to the expectations of many of the other scholarships.
At the beginning of his career with the university, he had self-doubts and struggled to adjust. Shortly after the struggle, he found a better footing, played interesting games, and won accolades while also winning the hearts of lovers of basketball.
He made history as the second player in major college basketball to average more than 30 points per game. Also, he was the first Tiger athlete to have his jersey (50) retired.
Before he left LSU, he recorded awards such as the following:
- Consensus first-team All-American in 1954
- In 1953, he reached a Consensus second-team All-American
- No. 50 retired by LSU Tigers
He also recorded the following statistics in his college career:
- Pettit averaged 27.8 points per game at the time he spent his three years (1951–1954) at LSU.
- He made a remarkable record, averaging 25.5 points per game in the Southeastern Conference (SEC).
- With an average of 13.1 rebounds per game, he ranked third in the nation during the first phase of his LSU career.
- Before Pete Maravich broke the record, Pettit held an SEC scoring record of 60 points in his second game
- Bob Pettit also became the second player in major college basketball history to average more than 30 points per game.
Bob Pettit was the 2nd Overall Pick in the First Round of the 1954 NBA Draft
Robert E. Lee Pettit Jr. started his NBA career in 1954, when he was drafted into the NBA as the 2nd overall pick in the first round. He was selected by the Milwaukee Hawks (later the St. Louis Hawks).
At the time, he was the highest NBA draft pick for a rookie with a $11,000 contract fee.
Like in the case of his LSU career, Pettit struggled in the first phase of his NBA career. To bring balance to this, his then-coach, Red Holzman, moved him to the center position and played number 9.
There was a mixed reaction, but the basketballer found a way to strike a balance, and by 1955, he had averaged 20.4 points and 13.8 rebounds per game. The same year, he also won the NBA Rookie of the Year Award.
In 1956, his scoring ability surpassed that of many other players at the time. He had a daring, dabbling, and winning spirit. Putting all of these and more together, Pettit was named Most Valuable Player of the 1956 NBA All-Star Game with a record of 20 scoring points, 24 rebounds, and 7 assists.
Pettit flourished well in his NBA career and is now considered one of the greatest ever in basketball. In fact, his career did so well that he averaged more than 20 points in every single game, and this has brought debate on his points as compared to Michael Jordan (since Jordan averaged exactly 20 points per game in his final season).
Bob Pettit’s NBA Accolades
- In 1958, he became an NBA champion
- He became the first man to win the NBA’s Most Valuable Player Award in 1956. Again, in 1959, he won another MVP award.
- Pettit was an 11-time NBA All-Star from 1955 to 1965
- In 1956, 1958, 1959, and 1962, the Baton Rouge native was NBA All-Star Game MVP (4x)
- Bob Pettit was a ten-time All-NBA First Team from 1955 to 1964
- In 1965, he was an All-NBA Second Team
- Pettit was an NBA Rookie of the Year in 1955
- In 1956 and 1959, the retired banking specialist and former NBA star was named an NBA scoring champion
- He was an NBA rebounding leader in 1956
- NBA anniversary team (25th, 35th, 50th, 75th)
- His No. 9 was retired by the Atlanta Hawks
He Retired in 1965 And Started a Career in the Finance Industry
Bob Pettit retired after the 1965 season. According to him, he retired because, in his words, “In my day … we didn’t make enough money to live for the rest of our lives”.
At the time he retired, he was the highest scorer in the history of the NBA. He retired with the following records:
- Pettit averaged 26.4 points
- He recorded 12,849 rebounds and a 16.2 rebound percentage
- He appeared in 792 games and scored He scored 20,880 career points
- Bob Pettit made 2,369 assists with a 3.0 assist percentage
- He became the first player in NBA history to record 20,000 points
- The 91-year-old posted a .436 field-goal percentage
- Following his NBA career in 1970, he later inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1970
- Pettit was selected as one of the fifty greatest players of all time at the NBA’s fiftieth anniversary in 1996
In his life after retirement, Pettit started a career in the banking industry. He worked in his hometown of Baton Rouge and also in Metairie.
He held his banking job for 23 years and transitioned to financial consulting in 1988. With the experience he gathered, the former basketball player started a new phase of his career as the co-owner of Equitas Capital Advisors, LLC.
The company is a large advisory firm based in New Orleans. Pettit serves as an executive director of the company. According to a Wikipedia report, he retired in 2006.
Bob Pettit was Married to Carol Crowell for 45 Years
Pettit was married to Carol Crowell Pettit on June 19, 1965. They were married for about 45 years before Carol died at the couple’s home in New Orleans. She died on Tuesday, September 21, 2010, at 66.
Carole had a sister named Nancy Crowell Owens and a brother named Richard L. Crowell Jr.
With respect to her career, she was a member of the Trinity Episcopal Church, the National Society of Colonial Dames of America, and Hermann-Grimma/Gallier House. Carole had served as a board member and officer of both organizations.
Pettit is a Father of 3 and Grandfather of 10
From his marriage to Carol, Bob became the father of three children: a son named Robert L. Pettit III and two daughters, Peyton Pettit Green and Mary Pettit Mozingo.
His son, Robert L. Pettit, III, is an agent and broker at Waters & Pettit Commercial Real Estate LLC in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
He was born in Baton Rouge and raised in New Orleans. The younger Robert is a graduate of Southern Methodist University as well as Louisiana State University.
Before his current position, he worked in the mortgage and financial services industries.
Mary Pettit Mozingo is a Marketing Manager
Mary Pettit Mozingo is one of the two daughters of Bob Pettit and his late wife, Carol. She is currently a marketing manager at LA 36 Speedway.
Before her current position, Pettit’s daughter worked as an administrator at Garden District Animal Hospital. Also, she worked at Redemptorist High School.
Like her father and only brother, Mary attended Louisiana State University, where she obtained two different master’s degrees.
She is also a University of Mississippi graduate. There, she obtained a Bachelor of Arts in French Language and Literature in 2000.
Peyton Pettit Green was Married to Landon Green and is a Mother of Three
Bob and Carol’s daughter maintains a low public life, and there is barely any solid information about her career life. Even at that, she was married to a man named Landon Green in February 1997.
They had three children before their divorce in 2015. The divorce was at first an amicable decision, especially with respect to raising their three minor children at the time.
However, it later led to a back-and-forth court situation when Landon was given custody of these children. Then Peyton contested it in an Appeal court.