Julius Erving, aka Dr. J, was a wizard with the basketball, performing feats the world had never seen before: midair spins and whirls punctuated by powerful slam dunks, which he was the first to glamorize.Read more...
Julius Erving, aka Dr. J, was a wizard with the basketball, performing feats the world had never seen before: midair spins and whirls punctuated by powerful slam dunks, which he was the first to glamorize. In a career that lasted from the 1970s well into the 1980s, he was one of the first players to make extemporaneous individual expression an integral part of the game, setting the style of play that has prevailed ever since. He's also long been respected as a gracious, dignified, and disciplined man. As there are great men of history, there are great men of sports, and Dr. J is just such a man.
This book tells Dr. J's amazing story, following his basketball journey from his Long Island childhood to the street games of New York City to a college career as his skills, reputation, and character grew. It follows his entrance into the ABA, where he revolutionized the game by glamorizing the dunk, and his conquering of the NBA, where he was Michael Jordan before there was a Jordan. It relates the family struggles he's had since leaving the game and charts the transformation of the man into myth.
- The first complete biography of one of the greatest and most popular basketball players of all time
- Draws on interviews with Dr. J's childhood friends and his family to teammates and coaches at all levels
- Written by a New York Times sports journalist and author of Asphalt Gods: An Oral History of the Rucker Tournament
- Includes Erving's years as a player with the Virginia Squires, New York Nets, and Philadelphia 76ers
Read Doc and follow the incredible journey of the basketball genius who elevated the game off the hardwood and helped make it America's passion.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 45.
- Review Date: 2009-10-26
- Reviewer: Staff
Before young basketball players wanted to Be Like Mike, they aspired to fly like Julius Erving. Noted basketball writer Mallozzi was one of those kids who modeled his game after the man they called Dr. J, and his biography does justice to one of the greatest basketball players ever. While Erving declined to be interviewed for the book, there's enough insight from those close to him for a complete portrayal. Erving goes from a talented but not heavily recruited high schooler to a rising collegiate standout at the University of Massachusetts, and eventual superstar in the ABA (New York Nets) and NBA (Philadelphia 76ers). Of course, Erving is most known for his aerial assaults, looking like an “angel flying across the heavens.” Beyond that, Mallozzi shows us how Erving not only developed an all-around game to complement his acrobatics but also became a consummate teammate, a mentor to younger players and a friend to both former coaches and players. There's also the darker side of Erving's life, mostly after his retirement, including the tragic death of his teenage son and lengthy saga about his once-estranged daughter. But in the end, Mallozzi concludes that Erving is as good a person as he was a basketball player, and based on the near-unanimous consensus on that premise by those interviewed, it's hard to argue. It's a well-researched yet fun look into the man to whom current NBA dunkers owe a debt of gratitude. (Dec.)