Dr. J: The “J” Stands For “Jealous”

It took Julius Erving forever to get his first and only NBA championship — not until his seventh season in the NBA (after having played his first five seasons in the ABA, thus in the 12th season in his professional career); and when he did, virtually everyone was happy when "Dr. J" finally got his ring.

Yet today, Erving is squandering that goodwill like a drunken sailor.

Two weeks ago, Erving sat down with Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports; and the topic of discussion quickly turned to who the greatest NBA players of all time are — a hotly-contested topic between supporters of LeBron James and supporters of Michael Jordan for that honor, with Kobe Bryant and Wilt Chamberlain on the "ballot" as "minor party" candidates, at least according to some.

And what say you, Doc?

He left James off both his first team and even his second team all-time all-star teams, explaining his reason for doing so as follows:

"He's the guy who has led the charge in terms of super teams being put together. He put together the team in Miami. He put together the team in Cleveland, as well. And put together the team in Los Angeles. So he can put together his own team. I'm not going to pick his team."

Of course it has nothing to do with the fact that James has won four rings while Erving won only one — and LeBron is the only player in NBA history to win NBA championships with three different teams (the aforementioned Heat, Cavaliers, and Lakers) and NBA Finals MVP three times.

It's just like Ed Norton said to Ralph Kramden in an episode of the iconic sitcom The Honeymooners: "I detect the presence of a green-eyed monster."

But it doesn't have to be this way: Are Fran Tarkenton, Dan Fouts, Jim Kelly, or Dan Marino envious of other quarterbacks that have won multiple rings — when none of them even won one among them, as Erving has?

Political differences also almost certainly inform Erving's antipathy toward James: Erving is a "born-again" Christian — yet that hasn't stopped him from fathering three children out of wedlock with two different women (he married the second woman in 2008). Suffice it to say that LeBron's "radical" political views do not sit well with the Doctor of Hypocrisy.

But of course, since he isn't gay and he didn't pressure either of his mistresses to get any abortions, Erving gets a free pass from his "family values"-obsessed cronies.

And it is so sad to see a beloved superstar's brand get so ruined in this way — and all because of his own ill-chosen actions, and ill-chosen words.

But it happens all the time — in this age of cameras everywhere, and 24-hour news cycles.

Comments and Conversation

May 11, 2021

Kenai Andrews:

Sounds like the writer is the jealous one. And the writer appears to know very little about Erving’s actual career. Erving won a pro championship in his third and fifth seasons. And his ABA championship teams were not super teams either. Erving is one of the few people who actually knows how so put a team on their back and win the big one. And then make the NBA and the lot 1975-1976 champs Boston Celtics chicken out when challenged to a best of 7 series to see who is the best in basketball.

May 12, 2021

Anthony Brancato:

Winning an ABA championship means about the same as winning a USFL championship - in other words, nothing. And how about the uber-choke that Erving’s Sixers pulled in the 1980-81 Eastern Conference finals, blowing a 3-1 series lead to the Celtics?

And big deal - Erving’s Sixers beat a mediocre (44-38) Celtics team in the first round of the 1976-77 playoffs - then choked in the Finals against Portland, losing in six games after winning the first two games of the series?

And for the record, I believe that Bill Russell is the GOAT. He won 11 rings - did he not?

May 26, 2021

Doug:

This has got to be one of the dumbest commentaries ever. Dr. J has nothing to be jealous of. There wouldn’t be a Michael Jordan without Dr. J, and Doc and players like him, probably kept the NBA from folding in the mid-70’s. It’s funny how this guy leaves out Dr. J’s three ABA MVP’s, two ABA Championships, and that Doc had the highest career scoring average in ABA History. Then he tries to slam Doc for his Christian views. What a joke.

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