Welcome back to the "Best Ever" series as we continue with another article in which i present arguments about certain player as the best of all time.

Next of the candidates in line was the game's ambassador of the 70's who modernized basketball and created its own modern playing style. His name was Julius Erving.

He was called the "Doctor" and "Dr J" because he operated on guys when he was on the court. His aerial acts, legacy, accomplishments and other things made him a legend.

Without further ado, here is why Erving was arguably the greatest player to step on a basketball hardwood.

1.High Flyer

There have been many great high fliers in the league, but none was greater than Julius Erving in this aspect. He was arguably the game's greatest high flyer of all time.

Although he wasn't the first one to finish in variety of ways at the rim and doing that in spectacular way, the Doctor did that to a whole new level.

He had explosiveness, athleticism, soft touch, vertical jump and the other physical gifts. Additionally, he had variety of moves and soft touch with large hands to make him excellent.

Julius had so much style and grace. He dominate on a basketball court thanks to his aerial abilities was second to none. He was also a terrific dunker too.

Erving was one of the finest in game dunks. To prove you that, i'll point out the fact that Dr J won the first Slam Dunk Contest ever which was held in the ABA.

His high flying paved the way for the modern NBA. He changed basketball with his spectacular acts. Here's a video which proves all of this.


Another aspect of the game in which Julius Erving was better than anyone else was finishing. He was arguably the best finisher to step on a NBA hardwood.

The Doctor was one of the game's most physically gifted players of all time. He had one of the top explosiveness and athleticism ever, as he also had big vertical jump, was quick etc.

Additionally, he had large hands, soft touch and terrific moves to score inside the paint. He was excellent high flyer, as he was capable to score in variety of ways at the rim.

That made him even more effective. Julius' dunk attempts were nearly impossible to block. Despite facing the greatest big men through his career of basketball, no one could stop him from dunking with ease.

Erving retired as the fourth and sixth leading scorer in both regular and post season. His effectiveness was off the charts. Dr J scored ton of points while shooting over 50% field goal percentage.

Also, this picture is his most famous play ever. Here is the video . This alone proves you despite the defensive attention he got, he was the top finisher ever.

3.Individual Superstar

Another argument that helps Julius Erving in the discussion for the top basketball player ever, was the fact that he was arguably the best individual superstar of all time.

He earned the nickname the "Doctor" because he operated on guys out there. He had all of the needed things to excel and establish as a terrific player on both sides of the court.

Julius was one of the most physically gifted men to play professional basketball. He possessed excellent athleticism, explosiveness, high vertical jump, speed etc.

His physical gifts helped him to become great. Erving was the greatest high flyer ever. He also used his soft touch and moves that made him to finish in variety of ways at the rim with ease.

Dr J's high flying was the reason why he was so effective. He was one of the most dominant forces to play the game. He consistently was dominating his opponents.

Additionally, he was an underrated all-around forward. He was good passer, terrific off-ball stopper, above average on the man, run the brake superbly and was a great presence on the glass.

He was a spectacular player who dazzled fans with his aerial abilities. He sold out arenas regardless where he was playing and people payed to see him do something well.

The Doctor was truly a phenomenal player.

4.Spectacular Play

One word that can best describe Julius Erving and will always be tied to his greatness, is the word "amazing". He was arguably the most spectacular player in the NBA History.

He revolutionized playing above the rim and turned it into an art form. He was like a wizard with the ball, who was capable to finish at the rim in variety of ways.

Julius possessed dozens of moves, soft touch, had such grace and was truly exciting. His high flying acts were so amazing and effective, as he dominated with those abilities.

Erving dazzled fans all across the country with his amazing style of play. He sold out arenas regardless where he played in. People pay to watch and see him doing something great.

Those who watched him, couldn't believe just how truly great he was. His dunks were phenomenal. He made even lay ups, look fantastic as this video proves that.

Dr J was arguably the game's most spectacular highlight machine of all time.

5.Clutch Performance

Julius Erving was an excellent player, who also elevated himself when it mattered it most. Here are some stats

-----------------Regular Season:24.2 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 2.0 steals, 50.6% field goal percent

---------------------Post Season:24.2 points, 8.5 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 1.5 steals, 49.6% field goal percent

---------------------------Finals:26.8 points, 8.4 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 2.6 steals , 52.6% field goal percent

I don't have his ABA Finals stats from his first trip in '74 though. His play in the regular and post season is identical but his numbers on the highest stage go way up.

Nonetheless, these are excellent numbers and it's true that the Doctor was outstanding when it mattered most.

6.Physical Gifts

One of the main reasons why Julius Erving was such a dominant force on the court and a basketball legend were his physical gifts. He was without a doubt, one of the most physically gifted players of all time.

He was one of the most athletic men to play professional basketball ever, period. His athleticism was on a whole new level compared to the rest.

The Doctor was notable for his explosiveness too. He was one of the most explosive finishers ever, with a respectable case for the first spot too.

He was also able to jump real high, as his vertical jump was among the highest for his era and most likely in the history too. The picture above proves that, as he put many people on posters.

Dr J's agility and speed were fantastic as well. He was truly exciting and quick on that fast brake. He was always going to finish at the rim, regardless was it a lay up or dunk.

The Doctor's athletic abilities were perhaps second to none. Nonetheless, his physical gifts were amazing and right there with the best.

7.Off-Ball Defense

Although he was more known for his offense, Julius Erving was also great defensively. His specialty was off-ball defense, which was arguably second to none.

That's right. He was actually the first player to consistently do the chase down blocks, another aspect where he excelled. He was also a great shot blocker and the stats prove that.

He managed to lead once in total blocks (consistently first for all non big men) and was among the top five leaders, especially in playoff time.

Erving was also a notable presence at the passing lanes. His total in the post season is ranked as the highest best of all time. This speaks a lot about his contribution.

The Doctor even led few in defensive win share once during both regular season and playoffs. It's impressive, as his impact on this side of the court was for respect.

He was arguably the greatest ever in terms of being off-ball stopper. Unfortunately, he was underrated in this aspect, in which he clearly excelled.


Julius Erving was one of the most dominant forces to step on a NBA Hardwood. He possessed all of the needed tools such as physical gifts and skills to dominate all of his opponents.

He built his own image and style while doing that in fashion. He was truly unstoppable when he entered the rim, where he could finish in dozens of ways and his dunks weren't blocked at all.

That's quite impressive, considering the fact that the 70's had the top big men ever. His effectiveness was off the charts, because he was close to the rim and always put himself in a high scoring chance.

Dr J's jump shot wasn't bad either, but he did bigger damage when he was inside the paint and driving to the basket. His flying abilities were spectacular but also very efficient too.

He was also a great presence on the glass, as grabbed nearly nine boards for his career. On the other hand, Julius excelled in off-ball defense where he translated his advantages well.

He was a well established presence on the lanes and was the first one to do the chase down blocks consistently. His dominated on both sides of the court pretty well.

It's a shame that his peak was in the ABA, but he did average incredible 37.9 points and 14.2 rebounds against Bobby Jones, one of the finest stoppers of all time.

He also torched defenses in the NBA too. His dominance was undeniable and he rightfully ranks among the most dominant players to play professional basketball!

9.Household Name

Julius Erving built a name for himself as an amazing forward who was known for his high flying, style and dominance. His spectacular playing style drew many people's attention.

He was indeed the household name of basketball in the 70's. That's right. The Doctor revolutionized the NBA, as he took the game off the ground into the air.

He was truly a hit at the time. Julius was a phenomenal player, who was arguably the best in the decade and off all time, even though there were other terrific players.

Erving amazed everyone with his amazing and highlight plays. Here is one. Actually, there're plenty other too. He made you say the "wow" word, because he was so phenomenal.

He sold out numerous arenas, regardless was it a home or away game. Thousands came to see him in action and doing something out of the ordinary.


Julius Erving had a well filled resume, thanks to his excellence in both ABA and NBA.
  • NBA Champion (1983)
  • 2× ABA Champion (1974, 1976)
  • 2× ABA Playoffs MVP (1974, 1976)
  • NBA Most Valuable Player (1981)
  • 3× ABA Most Valuable Player (1974–1976)
  • 11× NBA All-Star (1977–1987)
  • 5× ABA All-Star (1972–1976)
  • 2× NBA All-Star Game MVP (1977, 1983)
  • 5× All-NBA First Team (1978, 1980–1983)
  • 2× All-NBA Second Team (1977, 1984)
  • 4× All-ABA First Team (1973–1976)
  • All-ABA Second Team (1972)
  • ABA All-Defensive First Team (1976)
  • ABA All-Rookie First Team (1972)
  • J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award (1983)
  • NBA 35th Anniversary Team
  • ABA All-Time Team
  • NBA's 50th Anniversary All-Time Team
  • #6 Retired by the Philadelphia 76ers
  • #32 Retired by the New Jersey Nets
He has mostly terrific individual awards, but also has some great team achievements too. Nonetheless, it's phenomenal career resume.

11.Ability To Play In Any Era

There's no doubt at all that the legendary Julius Erving had the ability and could play in any era, while being arguably at the top. He had the needed things to excel.

He was among the most physically gifted players of all time. He was athletic, quick, explosive, could jump really high, run the court well consistently, had amazing hang time etc.

His advantages weren't questionable, because they were one of the main reasons of his excellence. Dr J also possessed arsenal of moves to score inside, soft touch and decent outside shot too.

Julius retired as the fourth and sixth all time leading scorer in both regular and post season for a reason. He always put himself in great chances, thanks to his finishing and ability to get to the basket.

Additionally, he was terrific defensively. In particular, his off-ball defense which was arguably second to none. He was notable presence at the lanes and was the master of the chase down blocks.

He ranks high in those categories, as he ranks 12th and 13th on the all time list in playoff and regular season defensive win share. So, he did make a positive impact on that side of the court too.

The bottom line is, that the Doctor could play at a world class level in any era.


"As a basketball player, Julius was the first to actually take the torch and become the spokesman for the NBA. He understood what his role was and how important it was for him to conduct himself as a representative of the league. Julius was the first player I ever remember who transcended sports and was known by one name, Doctor". -------his coach, Billy Cunningham.

"Here I was, trying to win a championship, and my mouth just dropped open. He actually did that! I thought, 'What should we do? Should we take the ball out, or should we give him the ball back and ask him to do it again?' It's still the greatest move I've ever seen in a basketball game, the all-time greatest." --------–Magic Johnson on the Baseline Move.

"....If you look at greatness there is one quality all these players have. They're always striving for perfection even though they know they'll never achieve that. Julius Erving was no different." –-------- Billy Cunningham

"We heard about Julius Erving and asked for a tape of him. We got this grainy black-and white film of the UMass-North Carolina game in the NIT. The quality was so bad that you could hardly tell what was going on, but we saw enough of Julius to sign him after his Junior year. Since we'd never seen him live before he wore a (Virginia) squires uniform, we thought he'd be able to help us on the boards and we hoped he'd be able to score some. We had no idea what he's become." –-------Johnny "Red" Kerr

Credit to:

-Basketball Reference



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