Everybody knows Dr. J especially if you have been following the NBA history since the 70’s to the 80’s. Before Michael Jordan – it was Dr. J. Julius Erving is known for his hang time moves and dunks that defined NBA basketball during the 80’s. But Julius Erving wasn’t always known as Dr. J. In fact, early in his career he had to fight for recognition.
In high school, he was only 6’3 feet tall and though he had the talent, many colleges and universities did not get him in their team.
What we think as a setback pushed Dr. J to become better. He did not just focus all his efforts on basketball but build on his life a whole.
It prohibited me from ever taking anything for granted. It made me have realistic expectations, focus on my studies first, and have a more balanced approached to life and the realization that basketball is a game.
Julius Erving played two seasons at the University of Massachusetts, where he grew three and a half inches. H
e then began his career not in the NBA but in the struggling ABA Virginia Squires in 1971. After two seasons, he was named MVP an award he won again in 1975 and 1976 while leading his team to the championship the same year.
In 1976, ABA merged with the NBA and Dr J played for the Philadelphia 76ers and became the franchise player of the team till the 80’s. More than his leaping ability and basketball skills, people admired Dr. J for his character.
David Stern, the commissioner of the NBA, has this to say about Dr. J
He set a new standard for the way the players were encouraged to behave with the media, with fans, with family values. Dr. J made it cool to have great values and to flaunt those values and to demonstrate them.”
In his speech when he was inducted in the Hall of Fame, Dr. J said,
I want the youngsters to understand anything you work toward in a positive direction can happen. I’m not just talking athletics. I’m talking education, politics… whatever level.