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When the ABA was folded into the NBA in 1976, the cash-strapped Nets sold Erving to the Philadelphia 76ers for million.
In Philly, Erving quickly helped transform the team into a perennial winner.
For those who never saw the real Julius Erving, meaning, you were born too late or didn't have access to the ABA, where he played his best ball, an upcoming documentary on Dr. But that's the thing about "The Doctor," which debuts Monday on NBA TV.
You get some of the authentic Julius, a good bit, actually. You get the highlights -- rare and incredible footage, super interviews with Erving and others -- but none of the not-so-highlights.
During the 1976-77 season, the 76ers buzzed through the playoffs to reach the NBA Finals, where the team fell to the Portland Trail Blazers in six games. got the trophy, Erving nabbed the series' biggest highlight when, in Game 4, he glided past a series of defenders in midair, from one end of the hoop to the other, before softly putting the ball in the basket with an underhanded scoop. Should we take the ball out or should we ask him to do it again?
After two straight years of reaching the NBA semi-finals, in 1980 Erving returned Philadelphia to the Finals, where the club lost to the Los Angeles Lakers and its rookie point guard, Earvin "Magic" Johnson. The play subsequently came to be known as the "Baseline Move." "My mouth just dropped open," Magic Johnson later recalled. '" The following season, despite earning MVP honors, Erving did not have enough of a supporting cast to bring his team back to the championship round.
In 1971 Erving left college and joined the Virginia Squires, of the American Basketball Association (ABA), as an undrafted free agent.