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How did Julius Erving become The Doctor?

  • Broadcast in Basketball
Over and Back NBA Podcast

Over and Back NBA Podcast


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We look at the early days of Julius Erving’s ABA career in the latest episode of Over and Back’s Basketball Mysteries of the 1970s with basketball-history enthusiast Reinis Lacis @LamarMatic, host of The Handle podcast.

We discuss how Julius Erving got his Dr. J nickname, playing college basketball largely in obscurity, developing his legend at New York’s Rucker Park, feeling the freedom to play above the rim the first time, how he mixed the creativity of the playground game with the discipline of the pro game, some of our favorite stories of his dunks, how the Virginia Squires discovered him and signed him out of college, how his early game relied mostly on rebound and how he developed his jump shot to become a complete player, sharing Afro tips with Darnell Hillman, getting fitted for suits with Clyde Frazier, Erving wowing everyone who first saw him in the ABA, the Squires losing ABA leading scorer Charlie Scott to the NBA just before the 1972 playoffs, Erving and the Squires battling Rick Barry and the New York Nets to a full seven games, Erving attempting to jump to the Atlanta Hawks in the NBA while the Milwaukee Bucks have his draft rights, playing one-on-one and developing chemistry with Pete Maravich, Erving eventually returning to the Squires for the 1973 season, being joined by future San Antonio Spurs legend George Gervin for 29 games and what a combination they could have been, how Erving eventually was traded from the Squires to the New York Nets, and how the Squires never recovered from losing their superstar.