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Erving, Julius

in full Julius Winfield Erving II , byname Doctor J

(born Feb. 22, 1950, Roosevelt, N.Y., U.S.) American collegiate and professional basketball player who was one of the most colourful and exciting figures in the game during the 1970s and '80s.

While playing in high school Erving won an athletic scholarship to the University of Massachusetts. In three seasons there he became one of only seven players ever to average more than 20 points and 20 rebounds per game in a collegiate career. He was still generally unknown, however, when he joined the Virginia Squires of the American Basketball Association (ABA) in 1971. He was traded to the New York Nets two years later. In his five seasons in the ABA, Erving led the league in scoring three times, was the league's Most Valuable Player in its last three years, and led the Nets to championships in 1974 and 1976.

When the ABA merged with the National Basketball Association (NBA), the Nets traded Erving to the Philadelphia 76ers. Erving led the 76ers to the NBA finals four times in seven years, including their 1983 championship win. He was voted the NBA's Most Valuable Player in 1981. In 1980 he was one of 11 players named to the NBA's 35th-anniversary All-Time Team. He retired in 1987 after having become the third professional player to have scored a career total of 30,000 points. At 6 feet 6 inches (1.98 m), Erving played forward and was noted for his fast breaks, balletic leaps toward the basket, and climactic slam dunks.

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