When Julius Erving was a freshman at the University of Massachusetts, he single-handedly drew capacity crowds so frenzied to see him play that lines would circle the Curry Hicks Cage hours before the tip-off. It was clear that a legend was being born. Erving became one of only six players in NCAA history to average more than 20 points and 20 rebounds a game, and it was during those UMass days that he earned the nickname known throughout the globe -- "Dr. J." Today, Erving is simply known as basketball's ambassador to the world. He's a basketball legend who, during his 16 scintillating seasons in both the ABA and NBA, redefined the forward position. Erving was flamboyant and artistic -- his athleticism unreal. He played in-your-face hoops. Opponents knew where Dr. J was headed, but few could stop his offensive assault.
Erving still remains one of only three players in pro basketball history to score more than 30,000 career points. Erving popularized being "airborne" and played the game "above the rim." He exhibited the and grace both on and off the court that led many in basketball circles to call him an American treasure. Erving's statistical package spanned five years in the ABA and 11 in the NBA. He joined the Virginia Squires in 1971 and the New York Nets in 1973. He was the ABA's MVP in 1974 and 1976 and co-MVP in 1975. He was an ABA First Team All-Star in 1973, 1974, 1975 and 1976 and led the ABA in scoring in 1973, 1974 and 1976. In 1974 and 1976, Erving led the Nets to the ABA championship. In five ABA seasons, Erving averaged 28.7 ppg and 12.1 rpg.
In 1976, Erving moved to the NBA and became a Philadelphia 76er. In 1980, he was named to the NBA's 35th Anniversary All-Time team. In 1981, Erving was named the NBA's MVP and earned All-NBA First-Team honors in 1978, 1980, 1981, 1982 and 1983. Erving was an 11-time NBA All-Star and MVP of the 1977 and 1983 games. In 1983, Erving led the 76ers to the NBA championship.
When he retired in 1987, Erving ranked in the top 10 in scoring (third), most field goals made (third), most field goals attempted (fifth) and most steals (first). On the combined NBA/ABA scoring list, Erving ranks third with 30,026 points. In 11 NBA seasons, Erving averaged 22.0 ppg and 6.7 rpg. In the years following his retirement, Dr. J. has lost little of his popularity and notoriety. Aside from his broad business interests, the dapper forward worked for NBC as a studio analyst for NBA games on NBC. On June 5, 1997, Erving was named Executive Vice President of the NBA's Orlando Magic.