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YouTube Gold: Before He Was Dr. J.

In college Julius Erving wasn’t even allowed to dunk.

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Julius ‘Dr. J’ Erving
HOLLYWOOD - JULY 16: NBA legend Julius ‘Dr. J.’ Erving attends the 2003 ESPY Awards July 16, 2003 in Hollywood, California.
Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

In our continuing series of stars before they were stars, we have a young Dr. J from UMass and Ruckers.

It’s a bit lost in history now but the Dr. was a transitional figure. There were a few high fliers before him but in the ABA, Dr. J was allowed to soar and soar he did. He made powerful artistic dunks part of professional basketball.

Guys before him dunked of course but just in a workmanlike fashion. Erving found new ways to do them and brought a bit of Ruckers with him.

The UMass footage here is funny because when he was in school you weren’t allowed to dunk. Most of America had no idea what was coming.

He became such a draw in the ABA that we think he personally, along with David Thompson, drove the 1976 merger that saw the NBA absorb four ABA teams and buy out the rest.

Anyway, here’s the good Dr. just as he began to take flight. Remember that that led to this which led to this which led to this.

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