Posted:  Jan. 16, 2014

Dr. J by Julius Erving  At long last, a high-flying American legend comes down to earth to tell his life story

With flights of improvisation around the basket, and his towering afro, Julius Erving became one of the most charismatic (and revolutionary) players basketball has ever known. A cool, acrobatic showman, his flamboyant dunks sent him to the Hall of Fame and turned the act of jamming a basketball through a hoop into an art form, winning the admirations of fans, sportscasters, and opponents, including Bill Walton, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, and Kareem Abdul Jabbar.

But while the public has long revered this cultural and sports icon, few have ever known of the double life of Julius Erving. There is Julius, the bright, inquisitive son of a Long Island domestic worker who wanted to be respected for more than just his athletic ability. And there is Dr. J, the balletic baller who transformed the game and inspired a generation of superstars, including Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and LeBron James.

Despite the pristine image put forward in his endorsement deals, he was far from perfect. In Dr. J., Erving goes on the record about the personal problems he faced and sometimes created. He speaks frankly about his career and the game; the adulterous affair that produced a daughter, professional tennis player Alexandra Stephenson; his 20-year-old son's tragic death; and the heartbreaking dissolution of his longtime marriage and its aftermath. Poignant and surprising Erving's story traces the inner-lives of the nearly perfect player and the imperfect man-and how he has come to terms with both.

This book about Dr.J, Julius Erving, was an honest and insightful look back not only on his basketball career, but also as a parent, husband and brother. The story starts with him his mother, sister and younger brother. Living in an apartment in New Jersey and how the basketball court became the place where everyone played at. That over the course of time to continue to play you had to improve your game. He talks about countless hours of shooting, running, jumping and other things to improve himself. He speaks of have to get good grades and how important that was to his mother and to his coaches once he Jr. High School started and beyond. How he just knew drugs, drinking and other street life actives was not what he wanted. He wanted to get out of the neighborhood and basketball would be the only way. He got an offer to play ball at the University of Massachusetts, and he did for three years and each of those years they were conference champs. He little brother passed away during his time in college from a disease that was not diagnosis until his mother had an autopsy done to find out the cause of death. After his junior year in college a team from the ABA, which back then was trying to gain notoriety against the NBA offered him a contract. After speaking with his mother who made him promise to finish his college education he agreed to enter into the ABA draft and was selected by the Virginia Squires. This is where I first remembering reading stories about him and sometimes catching an old black & white game somewhere. The ABA game was fast pace and fun when you could get one of their games and they had high scoring games 116 to 120. If a team could play defense they could win. Their uniforms were bright and the basketball was red, white & blue. He goes into all of the players he played against and with some big names in the game. He also speaks of the how the dunk from the free throw line came about. These are all great stories. The two championships he won in the ABA, and then the merger into the NBA. The frustration of losing twice in the finals two the Lakers and losing his mother and his sister passing away of cancer. He finally got an NBA championship against the Lakers and he retired the following year. After retirement his personal life was tough he goes into it and even looks to maybe him being away and his boys not having to grow up in the environment as he did that they had no desire to secede in anything. After one son passed away his marriage broke up after 22 years and his other son is in and out of jail. His daughter though is finishing college as he did as well, to make the promise he made to his mother complete. This is a very open and honest story about a truly gifted athlete who I enjoyed watching playing basketball. People talk about all of the stars after him but all I see is the same type of dunks that he did just not as many TV outlets like ESPN, etc... a good read if you are looking for a sports story.

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