Dr. J… Taking things to another level
Points – 30,026 (24.2 ppg)
Rebounds – 10,525 (8.5 rpg)
Steals – 2,272 2,272 (2.0 spg)
NBA champion (1983)
2× ABA champion (1974, 1976)
2× ABA Playoffs MVP (1974, 1976)
NBA Most Valuable Player (1981)
3× ABA Most Valuable Player (1974–1976)
11× NBA All-Star (1977–1987)
5× ABA All-Star (1972–1976)
2× NBA All-Star Game MVP (1977, 1983)
5× All-NBA First Team (1978, 1980–1983)
2× All-NBA Second Team (1977, 1984)
4× All-ABA First Team (1973–1976)
All-ABA Second Team (1972)
ABA All-Defensive First Team (1976)
ABA All-Rookie First Team (1972)
ABA Slam Dunk Champion (1976)
J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award (1983)
NBA 35th/50th Anniversary Team
If I had to describe Dr. J in just one word, it would have to be “Mesmerizing.” Not only was he the first to consistently “play above the rim” with dunks from all over the court, he was reason the ABA merged with the NBA in the first place. You know it’s serious business when instead of trying to buyout Julius Erving to come to the NBA, they just bought the whole entire league. Obviously Dr. J was something the world had never before and it was only a matter of time before he would be recognized and remembered forever. Widely considered to be the best dunker of all-time, he is also acknowledged to be one of the most talented players to ever play the game. And with career numbers like the ones listed, its easy to see why.
Born February 22, 1950 in Nassau County, New York, and raised in Roosevelt, New York from the age of 13, it’s clear to see where his style of play comes from. And anyone who knows basketball knows that if you play outside all the time and then make the transition to indoor wooden courts, you have a certain bounce in your step that springs you a little higher and pushes you a little faster. It can’t be measured or calculated, but once your on a wooden court after playing on asphalt and concrete for years, your game can instantly change for the better.
After years of playing on historic courts like Rucker Park in New York, Erving enrolled at the University of Massachusetts in 1968. In two varsity college basketball seasons, he averaged 32.5 points and 20.2 rebounds per game (WOW!!), becoming one of only five players to average more than 20 points and 20 rebounds per game in NCAA Men’s Basketball.
After college, he joined the unstable and in flux ABA as a free agent and quickly established himself by averaging 27 ppg his rookie season. While having issues dealing with the ABA, NBA, and contractual agreements, Dr. J eventually took over the ABA’s league by finishing in the top 10 in points per game, rebounds per game, assists per game, steals per game, blocks per game, free throw percentage, free throws made, free throws attempted, three point field goal percentage and three point field goals made. In all, Erving played five seasons in the ABA. In that time, he won two championships, three MVP trophies, and three scoring titles.
Now, after the ABA’s disbanding and working for the NBA, is when he really starts to become a household name because of the publicity the League had already established. Featuring moments like his infamous free throw line dunk in the 1976 ABA Slam Dunk Contest, the unimaginable reverse layup on Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and of course the unforgettable Rock The Baby dunk over Michael Cooper (which is regarded as the best dunk of all-time, and honestly, I would have to agree). Even after taking a lesser role in the NBA due to the overall talent the League accumulated, the Doctor was still a standout player and a future Hall of Famer, and by far one of the coolest dudes to ever play the game.
Before Lebron, there was Michael Jordan. Before Michael Jordan, there was Dr. J. He took the game of basketball to another level in terms of athleticism and skill and delivered something the world had never seen before. The NBA made sure he was in the spotlight but I’m the Doctor didn’t need any help.
Make sure to tune in to NBA Tv tonight, June 10 to hear all about how it felt to be known as, the Doctor.
“Respect is a lot more important, and a lot greater, than popularity.” – Dr. J