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YouTube Gold: The Doctor

Dr. J was, and remains, a jaw-dropping talent.

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18th Annual ESPY Awards - Arrivals
 LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 14: Julius Erving arrives at the 2010 ESPY Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on July 14, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.
Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Julius Erving had the misfortune to come along when the ABA was still reasonably healthy and before Magic and Bird and then Jordan, all of whom made NBA basketball a vastly more popular sport.

Most of Erving’s legendary moments came in the ABA and either weren’t televised or certainly weren’t archived.

He was one of the true greats though and a lot of his legend was built in the summers at the legendary Ruckers Park. You can kind of draw a line from Connie Hawkins to Erving to David Thompson to Michael Jordan to Zion Williamson. Erving was, as much as anyone, responsible for basketball moving from a staid, horizontal game to an elevated aerial assault.

Here’s a clip with some grainy highlights from Ruckers and a number of street legends commenting on how Erving blew everyone’s mind.

To follow that up, here’s a documentary on the Doctor that’s pretty cool. And while he was less flamboyant during his NBA career, after the 1976 merger, there was one play that hinted at his ABA glory days. If you’ve seen it we don’t have to tell you what it was. Magic Johnson explains, in great detail here, how shocking it was even to the Lakers.

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