After 25 Years, Dr. J Returns to the Sixers
Philadelphia 76ers CEO and Co-Owner Adam Aron announced that the team has reached an agreement with Julius Erving under which Dr. J will for the next several years formally associate himself in a part-time capacity with his former team as a Strategic Adviser.
In his new role, which runs at least through 2015, Erving will offer advice and counsel to Aron and Sixers Managing Owner Joshua Harris; will be available to the 76ers front office and coaches as they may wish from time to time; and in numerous ways as his primary focus will interact with Sixers fans and sponsors as a goodwill ambassador for the team.
Looking forward, the 76ers will also explore other ways which will evolve and become apparent over time in which the 76ers can be cooperative with Julius in his other professional activities through his holding companies, “Dr. J Enterprises” and “The Erving Group.”
The announcement was made during the first home playoff game of the 2011-2012 season, at which Erving had the honor to present the evening’s game ball to the referees before a packed house at the Wells Fargo Center. This same evening, Harris and Aron also hosted Erving as the guest of honor at a pre-game dinner for a select group of about a hundred Philadelphia 76ers season ticket holders. This is Julius’ third Sixers game of the year, having attended both the first and last games of the regular season as well. He is expected to be at Sunday’s fourth playoff game against the Chicago Bulls as well.
Erving’s brilliant basketball career saw him become the 3rd leading scorer of all time in professional basketball, scoring more than 30,000 points in the ABA and NBA. Most of those took place in his 11 seasons with the Philadelphia 76ers, including the memorable ‘82-‘83 season in which the 76ers won the NBA Championship. Erving repeatedly has been named an All-Star and a Most Valuable Player. In 1993, he was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. In 1996, Erving was named one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history. His number 6 was retired by the 76ers, and hangs in the rafters of the Wells Fargo Center as a lasting reminder of Julius Erving’s electrifying skills and accomplishments both on and off the court. To this day, Erving remains quite close with many of his former 76ers teammates, including Doug Collins, the immensely popular Head Coach of the Sixers.
Aron said, “Julius Erving is not only one of the greatest players ever to play basketball, he is also one of the classiest and most dignified gentlemen I have ever known. If ever there was an exemplary role model among professional sportsmen, it would have to be the Doctor, Julius Erving. On behalf of the all of us at the 76ers, we are thrilled he is reuniting with his former Sixers team, some 25 years after his retirement as an active player in the NBA. We know that Sixers fans and sponsors especially will enjoy getting to reunite with Julius as well.” Aron concluded, “After his brilliant career as a Sixer, the legacy of Dr. J in Philadelphia is unparalleled. He is nothing less than revered in Philadelphia, and we are so excited that Julius Erving is a 76er once again. We know that his help will be invaluable to us as we continue to strengthen the bond between the 76ers of today and tomorrow with Philadelphia area sports fans.”
Erving said, “I have such fond memories of my many playing years with the Philadelphia 76ers in the 1970s and 1980s. I look forward to continuing that long association with the 76ers in this day. I have been impressed by the initial steps taken by this new ownership group to reconnect the Sixers with their fans, and I am confident that the future of the 76ers looks quite bright. I know that I will greatly enjoy being able to offer advice and counsel to the team and its owners. It will also be particularly pleasing to me to have frequent and sustained contact directly with the 76ers fan base, who have been so kind to me over the years. Once a Sixer, always a Sixer.”
Erving will continue to reside in Atlanta, and expects to make multiple trips and appearances in the Philadelphia area in each of the seasons ahead.
Since Harris acquired the Sixers in 2011, the team has engaged with several distinguished 76ers alumni. In addition to Julius, such other Sixers greats as Moses Malone, Bobby Jones, Andrew Toney, Maurice Cheeks, Earl Cureton, Darryl Dawkins, Rick Mahorn and the surviving family of Wilt Chamberlain all have appeared and been saluted at Sixers home games this season. The team also has had private communications and interactions with a vast number of additional former Sixers players.
Erving becomes the second former Sixers player to assume a more enduring and formal role. For many years, World B. Free has ably served as a fulltime Goodwill Ambassador for the Sixers and will continue to do so.