Originally written on Awful Announcing  |  Last updated 11/17/14

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 14: Former NBA player 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)
Before there was LeBron, before there was Kobe, before there was Michael, before there was Magic, and before there was Larrry. there was Julius Erving, a.k.a "Doctor J." A new NBA TV documentary aired this week introduces "Dr. J" to a whole new generation. Younger NBA fans may have seen footage of Erving through NBA TV or on YouTube, but for old school fans, Erving was the man who brought a new type play to what was perceived as a boring prim and proper NBA. The documentary narrated by Chuck D, shows how Erving became from being known as Julius to Jewel to finally, "The Doctor." We learn Erving's upbringing in Long Island to how his legend grew from the playgrounds of New York to the only school that offered him a scholarship, the University of Massachusetts. Viewers are taken to where Erving grew up in Roosevelt on Long Island and we learn the basketball education of the Doctor. His legend exploded on the Rucker Playgrounds in Harlem in 1971 as Erving played against NBA players and it's where the famous "Dr. J" nickname was born.  It was only natural that Dr. J would take his talents to the upstart American Basketball Association which embraced the playground style. We hear from those who experienced the ABA first-hand, Bob Costas, Billy Crystal, George Gervin, Dan Issel and others. This was the league that had a red, white and blue basketball,plenty of improvision, great players, but no major television contract. It introduced the 3 point shot and the Slam Dunk Contest, two staples part of the current NBA. in 1976, the ABA merged with the NBA and Erving was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers and his game was exposed to a whole new audience. It led him to the Finals in 1977, 1980, 1982 and 1983, huge endorsement deals as well as being an Ambassador for the league. The documentary chronicled the struggles of Erving to get his NBA championship ring which finally came in 1983. "The Doctor" looked at how the NBA at first struggled to accept Erving and the ABA-style of play, but later came to embrace it. Even with the film being produced by NBA Entertainment, it did not shy away from the death his younger brother, the passing of his son Cory in 2000 and the divorce from his wife, Turquoise three years later. With interviews from peers Magic Johnson and Bill Walton plus LeBron James, we see how much respect they have for Dr. J. It's too bad that Michael Jordan isn't seen until late in the documentary and that is through a 1987 archival interview.  We see plenty of reflection from a very well-thought man. This is a documentary that ranks as one of the better NBA TV films, however, not quite at the level with HBO or ESPN's 30 for 30. One wonders how either of those documentary units would have handled this subject.. "The Doctor" clocks under 90 minutes with commercial breaks. This film could have easily expanded to two hours, there's so much matter that was not touched upon.  The Awful Announcing grade for "The Doctor" is a solid B. 
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Izzo: MSU could win football, basketball titles in same year

Durant ‘would love to’ spend entire career with Thunder

Elementary school sportswriter has hot take on Cam Newton

Romo was willing to take pay cut to keep DeMarco Murray

Marcus Mariota reportedly not planning to attend NFL draft

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Alabama RB dismissed from team after marijuana arrest

Golden Tate: Departure of Suh won't pressure Lion's offense

Are the Angels being overlooked?

Team USA improves before meltdown in Swiss draw

USC AD skips meeting in Indiana: ‘I am the proud father of a gay son’

David Ortiz clarifies part of essay in The Players' Tribune

WATCH: Steph Curry drops Chris Paul with crossover

WATCH: Spoelstra gives nice shoutout to Craig Sager

WATCH: Drew Miller takes skate to the face

WATCH: Gronk describes his perfect wife

Reigning National Champions to boycott Final Four in Indiana

This isn’t Tom Izzo’s greatest March masterpiece

New development clears path for Rams relocation

WATCH: J.J. Watt sings about stadium food on 'New Girl'

Kings ready to shut down DeMarcus Cousins

Jameis Winston may skip NFL draft to be with grandmother

Phillies to sell hard liquor, wine at Citizens Bank Park

Jason Dufner, wife Amanda getting a divorce

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Durant wants to spend career in OKC

This isn’t Tom Izzo’s greatest March masterpiece

Are the Angels being overlooked?

Top 20 players in the Final Four

Top 10 players in baseball

Report: Tiger's plane spotted in Augusta

Moss shares story on meeting Deion

Five coaches already on the hot seat

Can we envision the Hawks in the Finals?

10 winners and losers from the past week in the NFL

Namath parties with 100 yr-old women

Report: Shaka Smart talking to Texas

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.