Julius Erving Biography, Childhood, Career, Life, Facts

Julius Erving Biography, Childhood, Career, Life, Facts
Julius Eirving – Biography and career accomplishments. (Credit: Dick Raphael/Getty Images | Kathy Willens/AP)

Julius Winfield Erving II (born February 22, 1950) is a retired basketball player from the United States who played professionally in the ABA and NBA between 1971 and 1987. Erving established the modern style of playing basketball which involves leaping and shooting above the rim as one of the formidable styles of play which proves effective. Aside from establishing the modern style of play in basketball, Erving also possessed other basketball skills which he didn’t hesitate to bring to the courts on several occasions. Erving’s systematic approach made him one of the top scorers in the history of the NBA. In this Julius Erving biography, childhood, career, personal life and facts, we review the life of the outstanding legend whose unique style of play still resounds in the NBA.

Julius Erving’s Biography Quick Facts, Age

Here are some quick facts about the retired basketball player that you need to know.

  • Full Name: Julius Winfield Erving II
  • Nickname: Dr J, The Doctor, Houdini, J.W., Black Moses, The Claw, Little Hawk
  • Born: February 22, 1950
  • Age: 70 years old
  • Place of Birth: East Meadow, New York, USA
  • Nationality: American
  • Zodiac Sign: Pisces
  • Height: 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m)
  • Weight: 95 kg (210 lb)
  • Education
    • High School: Roosevelt High School
    • College: University of Massachusetts
  • NBA Draft: 1972 (Round 1 Pick 12) Milwaukee Bucks
  • Position: Small Forwarded
  • League: ABA/NBA
  • Kit Number: #32 #6
  • Playing Career: 1971 – 1973 (Virginia Squires) 1973 – 1976 (New York Nets) 1976 -1987 (Philadelphia 76ers)
  • Parents
    • Father: Julius Erving
    • Mother: Callie Mae Erving
  • Siblings
    • Brother: Marvin Erving
    • Sister: Alexis Erving
  • Wife: Dorýs Madden (married 2008)
  • Children
    • Daughter: Alexandra Stevenson, Justin Kangas
    • Son: Jules Erving, Corey Erving

Julius Erving Early Life & Childhood

Julius Winfield Erving II is one of three children born on February 22, 1950, to Julius and Callie Erving. Erving was born in East Meadow in New York. His father, Julius was not around throughout most of his childhood. When Julius turned 7, his father died as a result of a car accident. When he turned 13, his family moved to another part of New York, Roosevelt.

At Roosevelt, Erving attended Roosevelt High School. Prior to High school, Erving distracted himself from the challenges he faced as a child, by engaging in basketball. At Roosevelt High School, his interest in basketball improved. In high school, he was a really good basketball player, which made him popular. As a result of his fame, he earned the nickname, Dr J. His basketball skill didn’t make him popular in high school only, it also made him popular in the Rucker Park league where he was called Houdini and Black Moses

Julius Erving College Career

In 1968, Erving went on to attend the University of Massachusetts. At the University he engaged in basketball. He spent two years at the University playing basketball. In the two seasons, he spent in the league, he recorded average points of 26.3 and rebounds of 20.2. After two years in the University, he resorted to the hardship rule in order to enter Professional basketball. 15 years after he left the University, he earned his degree in creative leadership through the University without Walls program. 

Julius Erving Professional Career, Achievements, Awards

Virginia Squires (1971–1973)

The hard rule which was instituted in professional basketball in America, allowed players to be drafted from college despite not spending up to 4 years in college. Erving went on to sign 7 years deal with the Virginia Squires worth $500,000. In his first season in the ABA, Erving recorded impressive performance which established him as a top rookie talent. His signature dunking move earned him an average of 27.3 points and a spot in the ABA All-Rookie Team and All-ABA Second Team. He emerged second in the ABA Rookie of the Year Award. He led the Squires to the final of the Eastern Division where they lost to the New York Nets. 

Erving was eligible to enter the 1972 draft, where he was picked by the Milwaukee Bucks. But before the draft, he signed a deal with the Atlanta Hawks worth $1 million with a $250,000 signing bonus. He also discovered that his agent was an employer of the Virginia Squires, and thus made him sign a contract which was below market value. The NBA commission ruled that the Milwaukee Bucks held the right to Erving, but Erving continued playing for the Atlanta Hawks which resulted to a $25,000 fine for every game he played for the Hawks. A court injunction ruled that he had to play for the Squires only.

Irving thus returned to the Squire for the 1972/73 season where he recorded an average of 31.9 points. Ahead of the 1973/74 season, the Squires encountered financial difficulties and thus had to sell Erving. Erving was sold to the New York Nets for $750,000.

New York Nets (1973–1976)

Erving signed an eight-year deal with the Nets worth $2.8 million. The Nets also paid $425,000 to the Hawks in legal fees. In his first season with the Nets, his astounding form led the Nets to win the ABA Championship, while he was awarded the playoffs MVP. He thus emerged as one of the players loved by the fans. In the 1974/75 season, he also was in wonderful form. In the 1975/76, before the ABA-NBA merger, he had a wonderful time in the last ABA Championship, which saw the Nets emerge as Champions and Erving as playoff MVP for the second successive season. 

Philadelphia 76ers (1976–1987)

Following the merger of the ABA-NBA, the Nets were set to play in the league and Erving was set to receive a raise. But following increased financial responsibilities from NBA fees and the New York Knicks $4.8 million fees for occupying their space in the NBA, Erving’s raise could not go through. The Nets offered the Knicks Erving’s contract in order to avoid the $4.8 million fee, but the Knicks made the wrong decision of turning down the offer. The Philadelphia 76ers thus offered to buy Erving’s contract for $3 million, plus other fees which amounted to $6 million. Ultimately, Erving was traded for the Nets to have a place in the NBA. Erving’s transfer destroyed the Nets.

In his first season with the Sixers, Erving led the Sixers to the Finals of the NBA, but they lost to the Portland Trail Blazers. His fame in the NBA led to him signing several endorsement deals and also a trademark shoe bearing the name was produced. He is the first NBA player to have this done. After his wonderful show in the NBA, the Sixers struggled to find players who could play at Erving’s level. But soon they regain their steps. Following the arrival of Larry Bird to the Boston Celtics, the Boston Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers’ rivalry which was the backdrop of the Bird-Erving rivalry began.

They met at the Eastern Conference between 1980–1982 as well as in 1985. In 1980, the Sixers progressed to the NBA Finals, where Erving produced his famous Baseline Move. The move wasn’t enough to claim the Championship as the Sixers lost to the LA Lakers. In the 1981 season, the Sixers lost to the Celtics in the Eastern Conference finals, but Erving won the league MVP. In the 1982 season, they defeated the Celtics but lost to the Lakers in the NBA Finals.

In the 1983 season, the Sixers acquired Moses Malone. Malone was instrumental as the Sixers progressed to the Finals where they defeated the Lakers. Erving thus earned his first NBA Championship. Through 1984 to the 1986 season, Erving continued in wonderful form. When he announced his plan to retire after the 1986 season, every game he played was sold out. In cities where he played against teams in their arena for the last time, tributes were made to Erving.

Julius Erving’s Stats

Here’s a summary of Julius Ervin’s career stats at Basketball Reference.

  • Games: 1243
  • Points: 24.2
  • Total Rebounds: 8.5
  • Assists: 4.2
  • Field Goal Percentage: 50.6
  • 3-Point Field Goal Percentage: 29.8
  • Free Throw Percentage: 77.7
  • Effective Field Goal Percentage: 50.9
  • Player Efficiency Rating: 23.6
  • Win Shares: 181.1

Julius Erving’s Wife, Personal Life & Trivia

Julius got married to Turquoise Erving in 1972. In 2000, his 19 years old son, Cory was found drowned as a result of vehicle plunging into a pond. In 1979, he had a relationship with Samantha Stevenson, a sportswriter. The relationship led to the birth of Alexandra Stevenson, who is a tennis player. The relationship between Alexandra and Erving wasn’t known until Alexandra reached the semifinals of the 1999 Wimbledon. Aside from his financial duties, he had not been a part of Alexandra’s life. In 2008, Alexandra reached out to him and the two started off in a father-daughter relationship.

In 2003, following the birth of another child with a woman named Dorýs Madden, he and Turquoise Erving divorced. Erving and Madden had three other children and in 2008 they got married.

Erving professes to be a Christian. 

SEE MORE: Biography facts and personal life of famous basketball players


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