Commonly known by the nickname Dr. J, Erving helped launch a modern style of play that emphasizes leaping and play above the rim. +more
Erving helped legitimize the now-defunct American Basketball Association (ABA). Much as some players are considered "the team," Dr. J was considered "the league." He was the main asset of the ABA when it merged with the National Basketball Association (NBA) after the 1976 season.
Erving won three championships, four Most Valuable Player Awards, and three scoring titles while playing with the ABA's Virginia Squires and New York Nets and the NBA's Philadelphia 76ers. He is the fifth-highest scorer in professional basketball history, with 30,026 points (NBA and ABA combined).
Erving was named to the NBA's 50th Anniversary All-Time team and in 1993 was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. In 2004, he was inducted into the Nassau County Sports Hall of Fame. Many consider him among the most spectacular basketballers ever, and one of the best dunkers along with Vince Carter, Michael Jordan, and Dominique Wilkins.
Pro Basketball Career
Apr 10, 1972
Drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks
Drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks in the 1st round (12th overall) of the 1972 NBA Draft. (After playing for the ABA's Virginia Squires in the 1971-72 season.) Although he was drafted by the Bucks, Erving signed a contract with the Atlanta Hawks before the 1972-73 season. He appeared in three exhibition games before a legal injunction forced him to return to the Squires.
Due to financial woes, the Squires were forced to trade Erving to the ABA's New York Nets. He played for the Nets until the NBA-ABA merger in 1976. After the Nets were unable to fulfill a promise to raise his salary, Erving held out of training camp, and the Nets were forced to sell his contract to the Philadelphia 76ers where he became an instant star.