Julius Erving II, or "Dr. J," is an American former professional basketball player for the Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA. Erving also played for the Virginia Squires and the New York Nets in the American Basketball Association (ABA). Since retiring from basketball, he has spent time as a sports analyst, NBA executive, coach, and has also been involved with several business ventures.
Erving truly had an impact on the game of basketball as we know it today. Regarded as one of the greatest slam dunkers of all time, he exemplified the art of being an acrobatic player and seemingly floating through the air when he jumped. Through his mesmerizing play, Dr. J led the 76ers to many playoff appearances and even helped them win the NBA championship in 1983. After a memorable career, he was rightfully inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1993.
Julius Erving played basketball for Roosevelt High School in Roosevelt, New York. After not being recruited by many schools, Erving attended the University of Massachusetts. At UMass, freshmen were not allowed to play basketball on the varsity team so he only played for his sophomore and junior year before leaving the school.
Following college, Erving signed as an undrafted free agent with the Virginia Squires of the American Basketball Association (ABA). After his first season, he got drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA but ended up signing with the Atlanta Hawks. However, the Squires filed court papers prohibiting Erving from playing in the NBA and they won the case, forcing Erving to return to the ABA. After one more season with the Squires, he transitioned to the New York Nets where he won league championships in both 1974 and 1976. When the ABA and NBA merged in 1976, Erving joined the Philadelphia 76ers where he played the rest of his career.
At the University of Massachusetts, Julius Erving was one of five players in the school's history to average greater than 20 points and 20 rebounds per game (he averaged 32.5 point and 20.2 rebounds).
Upon entering the ABA, Erving was named to the All-ABA Second Team and ABA All-Rookie Team after his first season. While playing for the New York Nets, he led the team to two league titles in 1974 and 1976 and also won league Most Valuable Player both of those seasons. Before leaving the ABA, Erving also won the ABA Slam Dunk Competition in 1976.
While playing for the 76ers, Erving had many successful seasons. He led the team to 11 playoff appearances and won the NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1982-1983 season. Erving also was named MVP four times and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1993.
Julius Erving II was born in East Meadow, New York and raised by parents Julius and Callie Erving. He has two siblings: brother Marvin and sister Alexis. Growing up, Erving's father was not around and he passed away due to a car accident when Erving was only 7.
In 1972, he married Turquoise Erving but in 1979, he struck up a relationship with a sportswriter named Samantha Stvenson. Stevenson and Erving had a daughter named Alexandra who became a professional tennis player. Erving was not involved in his daughter's life growing up. Their relationship was nonexistent until she reached out to him in 2008. Erving has seven other children, including three with his current wife Dorys Madden. Unfortunately, his son Cory drowned in 2000 after he drove his car into a pond.
After retiring, Erving has worked for the NBC television network as a sports analyst and also as an executive for the Orlando Magic.
While in high school, Julius Erving called his friend Leon Saunders "The Professor." As a result, Saunders came up with a nickname for Erving and began calling him "The Doctor" which became "Dr. J." In one of Erving's podcasts, Saunders remembered Erving saying to him, "You act like you know it all, like you're some kind of professor." To that comment, Saunders replied, "What does that make you, a doctor?"
After being drafted by the Miluakee Bucks in 1972, Erving signed a contract instead with the Atlanta Hawks. He even played a few preseason games before facing issues with Virginia Squires. Since Erving had a contract with the Squires that had not expired, he was required to stay with the team until the contract was up. Although he could not play in the NBA at the time, Erving experienced several successful seasons in the ABA in the meantime.
Throughout his eleven seasons with the Philadelphia 76ers, Julius Erving made it to the NBA Finals four times. In their first three finals, the 76ers lost to the Portland Trail Blazers in 1977 and the LA Lakers in 1980 and 1982. Finally, the 76ers won the NBA championship with Erving in 1983 against the Los Angeles Lakers. After their two previous losses to the Lakers, the 76ers defeated them 4 games to 0.
The Julius Erving Award is an award that was created in 2015 and is given to the best small forward in college basketball each year. The most recent winner of the award was Saddiq Bey of Villanova. Other past winners include Rui Hachimura of Gonzaga University, Mikal Bridges of Villanova University, Josh Hart of Villanova University, Denzel Valentine of Michigan State University, and Stanley Johnson of the University of Arizona.