The Last Shot represents a moment captured through a camera lens which leaves a lasting impression. Every week, I’ll take an image—whether it’s rare, odd, hilarious, or iconic—and tell a story about the photo at hand.
Up first are five of the most elite basketball players to ever lace ‘em up all caught in one shot during the 1974 All-Star Game. How often are four Hall of Famers, three of the NBA's 50 Greatest, and one of the most prolific scorers of the decade captured in one still photograph? One would think All-Star games would be a sure thing to accomplish such a feat, but the chances could be thwarted by photobombs of also-rans in the background. But on January 15th, 1974 at the Seattle Center Coliseum, photographer Max Gutierrez pulled off the equivalent of the quadruple-double.
Quick! Can you name the four other players in this photo alongside Geoff Petrie (far right)? Here’s a hint—they’re all enshrined in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame…Give up? Obviously, the big man in the middle is Kareem Abdul-Jabbar but not the one from Hollywood, rather the Brew City version. The other Western Conference All-Star to the far left is Lakers guard Gail Goodrich. Defending Petrie is Boston’s Dave Cowens, who, coincidentally, was Co-Rookie of the Year with Geoff in 1971. And strangely enough it is none other than “Pistol” Pete Maravich of the Atlanta Hawks lurking behind Cowens. I say strangely, because everything the Pistol did exuded flash and showmanship, not perfecting his wallflower skills.
During the annual game between the best from both conferences, it was the West that came away victorious, 134-123
, giving them their ninth win in 24 tries against the East. But this was no ordinary All-Star event. The twenty-fourth version marked a lot of firsts in All-Star history. It was the first to record steals, blocks, offensive rebounds and defensive rebounds; the first to be held in Seattle.
Out of the five players pictured, who would you guess had the best outing? I’m betting Pistol and Kareem would be on the tip of the tongue, but it was actually Goodrich who led the charge, going off for 18 points on 9-16 shooting, six rebounds and four assists. In the end, none of the above players pictured could say they had a night quite like Detroit’s Bob Lanier. Off the bench, the 6-11 center cemented himself as a household name during his third All-Star appearance, by scoring 24 points on an efficient 11-15 shooting, hauling in 10 rebounds and swatting away two shots en route to winning the MVP award.
As for the man representing the Rose City, Geoff Petrie posted eight points, shot an uncharacteristic 3-11 from the floor, handed out four assists, grabbed two rebounds and a steal in 26 minutes of action in a starter’s role. While Petrie got the starting nod, it was another Trail Blazer, Sidney Wicks (not pictured) who racked up the better numbers. Wicks caught fire in his 24 minutes of playing time, scorching the nets for 16 points. This would become the first time in franchise history the Trail Blazers had two or more All-Stars representing Rip City in the same year; an accomplishment that would come to fruition seven more times—the last being in 1994.
This would be the last time all five players would share the same court during an NBA game. The ’74 All-Star Game would turn out to be Petrie’s last time recognized as one of the game’s elite. As for the others, Kareem was just getting started, partaking in the fifth of his 18 All-Star games, Goodrich only had one more left under his belt before bowing out the following season, Pistol had a three-year hiatus from the mid-season classic before returning in 1977 for the first of three more appearances, and the player Geoff Petrie is forever tied to, Dave Cowens, was smack dab in the middle of his string of six All-Star Games.