TOM's Talks | Julius Erving
It’s always a good time to hear from Julius Erving.
But in today’s world, the words he shared with 76ers radio announcer Tom McGinnis can be especially appreciated.
To start the interview, Erving expressed his feelings about the country's climate in wake of the George Floyd tragedy in Minnesota - and how chillingly similar the fallout of the incident feels compared to the political climate 50 years ago, at the beginning of Dr. J's own playing career.
“I just felt like going through the TV and pushing [the officer away]. Just get off the guy’s neck. This was life or death. I got stopped in those days, in the 70s - not only was it a nervous time, because you didn’t know what the outcome was going to be, but the ridiculousness of it - asking me where I work? Why do I have a nice car? That’s not a reason to stop anybody. So this has been a problem in our society for a long time... It’s not anything new.”
Ever conscious of other current events around the world, Erving has used the NBA hiatus to stay home, and stay educated:
“I’m watching a lot of TV, watching a lot of channels that I’ve never watched before. I’m seeing all these documentaries on pandemics - and this is really happening. They’re eye-opening.”
Erving also reflected on the power his 1983 NBA Championship team had to positively impact the community:
“It was magical. It was so special - friends and family in tow riding down the streets of Philadelphia to the stadium - just to enjoy the moment and celebrate the moment. There was a lot of social unrest going on in Philadelphia during that time. Elections, so much going on. So I think the championship brought the city together. I think the team definitely brought people together and created a oneness of mind and spirit and created a movement going forward that that helped get over that hump.”
As for the 2019-20 76ers, the Hall-of-Famer hopes they get a chance to fight for a championship of their own:
“I like what we have. I think that we’ve got the positions covered. We’ve got depth. So now, to the aggressor goes the spoils. We have to initiate, instigate, and really go after it. Can’t wait for teams to make mistakes - you have to force teams into making mistakes. It’s not something that’s going to be given to you. Other teams want it as much, and if there’s any team out there that wants it more, then you’ve got to adjust, and want it more than they do. Know who your enemy is, know who your opponents are, and be the aggressor. I think aggressiveness will pay dividends for our team.”
Erving added that the team’s current personnel is uniquely equipped to fight in the postseason:
“If Joel [Embiid] gets in foul trouble [for example], we’ve got backup. We’ve got backup guys at every position... As much grief as Al [Horford] was giving us in Boston... Tobias is great - [he] keeps things level in terms of team and distribution. And Ben [Simmons] is phenomenal - he’s a prodigy. I think he’s ready for it. I like our chances.”
Listen to the full podcast with Erving here: