Originally written on Awful Announcing  |  Last updated 6/12/13

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

Big Ten coaches opposed to 9-game conference schedule

Winners and losers of the 2015 MLB trade deadline

Hill arrested for reckless driving, clocked going 107 mph

Diamondbacks GM: Padres wanted Goldschmidt for Kimbrel

'Rowdy' Roddy Piper dead at 61

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Mets acquire Yoenis Cespedes from Tigers

Sheldon Richardson escapes felony charges for recent arrest

Lawyer who litigated against NFL: Brady plays every game

Cowboys should sign interested RB Steven Jackson

Jameis Winston confirmed as Buccaneers starting QB

Russell Wilson contract increases likelihood of change

Five potential NFL salary cap casualties this preseason

RB signed by Chiefs day after tweeting them highlight video

Evgeni Malkin had real penguins at his birthday party

Pirates do Pirates at deadline: Neat little moves

Jonathan Papelbon thinks he became ‘scapegoat’ for Phillies

Padres don’t sell at trade deadline, reportedly because AJ Preller still believes in team

First photos of Jason Pierre-Paul’s injured hand emerge

Stop kvetching about Notre Dame, please

Rebuttal banner supporting Tom Brady flies over Pats practice

Ranking the NFL’s 32 head coaches

LeSean McCoy cancels party, but it wasn't some 'weird orgy'

Redskins making huge mistake by signing Galette

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

Five potential NFL salary cap casualties this preseason

Winners and losers of the 2015 MLB trade deadline

Pirates do Pirates at deadline: Neat little moves

Mets acquire Cespedes from Tigers

Ranking the NFL’s 32 head coaches

Five worst baseball trades since 2000

Examining the state of the NFL

Puig: Broke out of slump by playing baseball video games

Braves dump risk, exchange it for risk

David Price traded to Blue Jays

The indefensible Hulk Hogan

Cole Hamels chose Rangers over Astros

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker