Julius Erving Rumors
Shaquille O’Neal: Criticism only motivated me. For one, the reason I started playing basketball was because my favorite basketball player, Dr. J, was in a movie, The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh. Kareem was in a movie (Airplane!). You can only work on your game three or four hours a day — it’s obvious I did that because … I’m going to be first-ballot alongside A.I. [Allen Iverson of the Philadelphia 76ers] and Yao Ming.
Scott Howard-Cooper: Larry Brown, Julius Erving and John Thompson for Allen Iverson. And as Shaq hoped, Dr. J, Alonzo Mourning, Bill Russell and Isiah Thomas.
The Hall of Fame now awaits, with O’Neal being inducted in a class that includes Allen Iverson, Yao Ming and Tom Izzo, among others. O’Neal told The Vertical that he has chosen four Hall of Famers – Isiah Thomas, Julius Erving, Bill Russell and Alonzo Mourning – to present him in Friday’s ceremony. In 19 seasons, O’Neal earned four championships, three Finals MVPs, one league MVP and 15 All-Star honors, and is seventh on the all-time scoring list.
Who is the best dunker you have ever seen? Julius Erving: I’ll tell you; Zach has put on a show the last couple of years. He has to get kudos. I don’t know if the surprise factor and the timing coordination dunks that he does are as impactful as what Vince Carter brought to the scene when he did a few things that hadn’t been seen before. I think with Connie Hawkins, myself, Michael Jordan, Dominique Wilkins, Clyde Drexler, there’s a lineage there, and I think Vince shook it up a little bit there with a couple of dunks there. I’m gonna let him reside in that spot right there.
Where did this past dunk contest rank on your all-time list? Julius Erving: It was clearly as good as the Wilkins-Jordan showdown, and I had a showdown with David Thompson back in ’76 which was the last year in the ABA. It doesn’t get acknowledged as much, but it was a great showdown. But Zach and [Aaron] Gordon, in terms of the guys who are judging and to hear what they had to say during that time, records are made to be broken, and standards of the bar are established to be challenged so somebody can go above it. I would put those two guys, the things they did this past show in Toronto, at the top of the bar. Even for them to chase next year, or put some new guys next year to go after it…they have raised the bar to a different level.
Barkley was asked about it on SportsCenter — is this true? And Barkley confirmed: Williams was telling the truth. Chuck says: “That’s the truth. When I got to Philadelphia, Dr. J, Moses Malone, Maurice Cheeks—they never practiced. They’d sit on the side, on the stationary bike, eating McDonald’s. So once I had been in the league X amount of years, I adopted that philosophy. I had played 48 minutes the night before, I wasn’t going to get up the next morning and go to practice.”