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Julius "Dr. J" Erving Florida
JULIUS ERVING

Julius Erving, nicknamed the "Doctor" by a high school teammate, is a professional basketball player who helped launch the modern style of play that emphasizes leaping ability and play above the rim. While some players are considered to be "the team", Dr. J, as he came to be known, was considered "the league." He is one of only three players in professional basketball history to score a career total of over 30,000 points in professional play.

Erving played college basketball at the University of Massachusetts, where he was one of only six players in NCAA history to average more than 20 points and 20 rebounds per game. He left UMass before his senior year and signed with the fledgling ABA in 1971, playing for the Virginia Squires from 1971-73 and the New York Nets from 1973-76. In 1976, the ABA league was consolidated into one division for its final season and introduced the first Slam-Dunk Championship at the All-Star Game. Erving took the title after jamming his famous court-length, take-off-from-the-foul-line showstopper.

The era of the red, white and blue basketball was over, but a new level of excellence and entertainment in professional basketball was just beginning. After the NBA absorbed what was left of the ABA in 1976, Erving was dealt to the Philadelphia 76ers where he transformed the game with his rebounding skills and his trademark slam dunk. Dr. J finished his career with the 76ers, retiring in 1987.

Before his retirement, Erving had been selected to six All-ABA teams and seven All-NBA teams, played on sixteen consecutive All-Star teams and led the 76ers to the 1983 NBA Championship. He was also named the ABA MVP three times, the NBA MVP in 1981 and MVP for both the 1977 and the 1983 NBA All-Star games. One year prior to retiring, Dr. J returned to the University of Massachusetts to complete his bachelor's degree.

Often termed "the ambassador of sport," Julius gives his time generously to numerous charitable organizations. He has been recognized many times for his outstanding athletic accomplishments and for serving as an exemplary role model for America's youth. He is the recipient of the 1983 J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award, the 1986 Freedom Leadership Award, the 1989 Horatio Alger Award, and he is a 1993 inductee into the Pro Basketball Hall of Fame. In 1996 Erving was named one of the "50 Greatest Players in NBA History" in honor of the NBA's 50th anniversary.

Today, Dr. J is a self-described "businessman-entrepreneur." After working as an in-studio analyst for NBC during it's coverage of the NBA since 1993, Erving joined the Orlando Magic's front office staff as Vice President of RDV Sports and Executive Vice President of the Magic from June 1997 through September 2003. An avid golfer, Erving created the Julius Erving Celebrity Golf Classic in 2004. Proceeds from the Classic help fund the Jack Leaman Legacy Fund, a scholarship fund established in honor of the legendary head coach, color commentator and fellow UMass Hall of Famer.


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