It was 35 years ago Friday that Julius Erving — Dr. J to his fans — pulled off his in-game rock-the-baby dunk against the Lakers, one of the great dunks in NBA history.
He was being remembered at the Wells Fargo Center Friday night, sitting in a suite, when he took ill and had to be taken to the hospital. The team released this statement:
“Philadelphia 76ers legend Julius Erving fell ill at tonight’s game and was taken to a local hospital, where he is currently being evaluated. He is expected to be released after the evaluation.”
From that it doesn’t sound too serious. We hope that is the case.
Erving, now 67, is a Hall of Famer who won one NBA title and two ABA titles, was a four-time MVP, a 7-time All-NBA player, a 16-time All-Star, and made the All-Defensive Team once.
More than that, he helped usher in a new era of the game — he was playing above the rim when few were. There have been only a handful of players as popular, and who shaped basketball culture, the way Dr. J did.
We wish him well.