On Monday night, NBA TV aired the documentary “The Doctor” examining the life and career of Basketball Hall of Famer Julius “Dr. J” Erving. The documentary also revealed a stunning development in the life of Erving.
At age 63, Dr. J can still dunk a basketball. And he does with total ease.
Erving’s career is a transient journey from the basketball blacktop cathedral of Rucker Park in New York City all the way to the NBA and a world championship with the Philadelphia 76ers in 1983. While Erving is known as a well-rounded player both offensively and defensively, the thing that made Erving unique was his thunderous dunks and his affinity to stay in the air for an inordinate amount of time.
“You know you see these super heroes where they’re like Clark Kent and they take their glasses and suit off and put on their cape and they’re a superhero,” former 76ers coach and Erving teammate Doug Collins said in the documentary. “He’d put on his uniform, got the ‘'fro ready to go, and it was almost like he was putting on the outfit to be Dr. J.”
“We always thought of him as an alien,” former Los Angeles Lakers coach Pat Riley said.
Tom Hoover, who played against Erving early in his basketball life at Rucker Park, recalled a time where Erving dunked the ball with so much force the ball hit Hoover on his head and knocked his teeth out.
The documentary also delved into Dr. J’s personal life, including his divorce, the two children he fathered out of wedlock and the 2000 death of his son Cory.
The big news to come out of the documentary, however, was the revelation that Erving, the first and only man who has ever jumped from the foul line to dunk a basketball, is still doing it at his advanced age. Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch revealed on his Twitter last week that Erving has dunked at least once per year since his retirement in 1987. That includes the three slams he put down in 2013 alone.
Many other retired NBA players have shown that they can still dunk including arguably the greatest of all-time, Michael Jordan. What makes Erving’s dunk more impressive is that Jordan was dunking age 48. ... Erving just turned 63 in February.
Watch Dr. J dunk below. It is impressive.