Julius Erving Rumors
But Erving remains synonymous with Long Island basketball, an iconic figure whose story will be revived again this weekend when pro basketball makes its official return to the Coliseum for the first time in decades. Yes, Dr. J is set to make another house call. The Long Island Nets, who are the N.B.A. G League affiliate of the Brooklyn Nets, plan to honor Erving and his childhood mentor, Don Ryan, at Saturday’s season opener against the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. Erving’s old New York Nets jersey will be retired, and Ryan, a longtime coach, teacher and civic leader, will be presented with a lifetime achievement award.
Byrd told Erving that the team was planning to have a ceremony for Ryan at the season opener and asked if he would be able to come. Erving’s response? Anything for Don. “It’s an honor for me to honor my friend and mentor and one of the great role models of my life,” Erving said on the telephone last week.
The colorful legacy of the American Basketball Association will be celebrated at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on April 7, 2018, when the ABA’s 50th reunion is held. All proceeds will go to the Dropping Dimes Foundation, an Indianapolis-based charity that assists former ABA players, coaches, and team employees in need of financial or health care assistance. The event will bring a retro ABA All-Star weekend feel to downtown Indianapolis. Many of the league’s greatest players and coaches are scheduled to attend, including former Pacers legend George McGinnis and legendary Pacers coach Slick Leonard, Julius Erving, Spencer Haywood, Dan Issel, George Gervin, and Artis Gilmore. NBC announcer Bob Costas will serve as master of ceremonies. During the program, the list of the ABA’s all-time 50 greatest players will be announced, as voted on by a media panel.
Magic Johnson recently became the president of basketball operations for the Los Angeles Lakers. Do you see Magic succeeding in his new role and would you do something like that in the future? Julius Erving: “I think Magic is going to succeed because he’s succeeded at every level and has taken on every challenge that’s put in front of him and channel it. “It’s not the role for me. It’s just not. I had my time in basketball and now I kind of like having the freedom that I have…that role is one that locks you in.”
Julius Erving: “So Lakers, I go back to Shaq when he left Orlando. He wanted to be in movies. There’s something there that’s better to be a part of while you’re playing, so there would be an easier transition after you get out. I could buy that. “I’ve gotten a couple calls from shows where LeBron is an executive producer or show financier, so maybe here in California, it’s a part of that in playing his last few there sets it up.”
What is your impression of Ben Simmons? He’s getting a lot of attention heading into what will now be his rookie season. JE: “Not having seen him play on the pro level, he’s a question mark. But he’s got credentials of being a No. 1 pick. Sharing the stage with this year’s No. 1 pick, [Markelle] Fultz and [Jahlil] Okafor. No. 1 pick doesn’t guarantee anything, but it does create an expectation that this guy, in the class that he came in with, was the pick of the litter.