Julius Erving

Nickname: "Dr. J"
Ht. 6-7
Wt. 200
College - Massachusetts
ABA Teams: Virginia (1971-72 to 1972-73), New York (1973-74 to 1975-76)

ABA All-Rookie team in 1971-72. 2-Time ABA League MVP (1973-74 & 1975-76). ABA Co-MVP with George McGinnis in 1974-75. 3-Time ABA Scoring Champ. ABA Career Scoring Average Leader with 28.7 ppg. 5-time ABA All-Star. 5-time member of ABA All-Pro team. Member of 2 New York Nets ABA Championship teams. MVP of ABA Playoffs in both 1974 & 1976. Member of the Basketball Hall of Fame. Unanimous Selection to ABA 30 Man All-Time Team. Chosen as ABA's All-Time Most Valuable Player

From Jim O'Brien's 1972-73 Complete Handbook of Pro Basketball:
Passed up senior season at UMass to turn pro . . . Offered services first to New York Nets on Long Island, where he grew up, but was turned down . . . Signed instead with Squires . . . We had Charlie Scott hold his hand against Erving's last year, and Julie's fingers extended one full joint farther than Charlie's. Scott smiles. "If I could palm a ball," said Scott, "I'd be hell." . . . Well, Erving can, and he can handle a basketball as though it were a tennis ball, hang high in the air, and lay it on the rim, or hurl it through the hoop, like no one else in the sport, and that includes Connie Hawkins . . . At times, Erving is incredible . . . Keeps a calm look throughout game, almost passive, but is always looking for the edge . . . He is the best rebounding forward in pro ball . . . In 1972 he was even better in playoffs, in absence of Scott. He scored a record-tying 53 points in one game -- equalling Roger Brown's outburst of two years ago - - and set a playoff mark with 21 field goals in one game. He also set a record for best rebounding average in the playoffs at 20.36 (224 in 11 games) . . . Nicknamed "The Doctor" because of the way he operates on the floor. Willie Sojourner was always calling him that and made it stick. "That was Willie's biggest contribution of the year," says Squires owner Earl Foreman in sarcasm . . . Plans to finish college and get degree in business management . . . Signed a three-year contract for over $1 million with Hawks, which takes effect in 1975 when his present contract with Squires expires, but his attorneys are trying to get him out of that one earlier . . . His current contract calls for a piddling $125,000 a year

Career ABA Totals 407 16550 4581 9094 .504 88 273 .322 2412 3102 .778 4924 1952 1208 764 648 11662 12.1 4.8 28.7
ABA Playoff Totals 48 2064 582 1122 .519 10 40 .250 318 400 .795 617 247 141 52 54 1492 12.9 5.2 31.1
ABA All-Star Totals 5 134 38 71 .535 1 2 .500 23 29 .793 36 24 16 - - 100 7.2 4.8 20.0

"It wasn't really the shot I wanted," said Julius Erving of his game-winning shot at the buzzer in Game 1 of the 1976 ABA Finals. Erving hit the shot over Bobby Jones, one of the best defenders in either league. It demoralized the Nuggets, and gave the Nets a leg up in the series. After the game, Leo Hirsch talked to the Doctor about his classic performance.

Sound Clip -- April 17, 1974: Dr. J hits an amazing fallaway jumper at the buzzer to give the Nets an 89-87 victory over Kentucky in Game 3 of the 1974 ABA Eastern Division Playoff Finals.

The 1973-74 season was Erving's first with the New York Nets. Nets fans quickly learned to expect buzzer-beating shots from their new hero.

In Round 2 of the 1974 ABA Playoffs, the Nets faced the powerful Kentucky Colonels in a "best of seven" series. The first two games were played at Nassau Coliseum in New York, and the Nets crushed the Colonels in both games. The series then shifted to Louisville's Freedom Hall for Game 3. Desperate for a victory, Kentucky played well. But with 17 seconds left in the game, the score was tied at 87, and the Nets had the ball. Everyone in the building knew who would take the last shot for the Nets -- but that knowledge didn't help the Colonels. Dr. J dribbled away most of the clock and, with only a second left, launched a fadeaway jumper from the free throw line over several defenders. The shot banked in, giving the Nets an 89-87 victory and an insurmountable 3-0 series lead.

Van Vance, the radio voice of the Colonels, had the tough task of describing Erving's heroics on the Colonels Radio Network.

Streaming RealAudio File -- RealPlayer plug-in required (free download here)
Clip courtesy of Van Vance and used with permission

These Dr. J photos are copyright © Larry Berman and used with permission. Interested in obtaining an 8x10 print of these or other Erving ABA photos? Visit Larry at bermansports.com and choose from a large selection.

Sound Clip -- March 14, 1975: Spirits of St. Louis at New York Nets.

"I swear to you, I don't know how Erving does it. How do you put it up with your back to the basket and swish it??"

Streaming RealAudio file -- RealPlayer plug-in required (free download here)
Call by and copyright Bob Lederer --used with permission

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