Julius Erving Rumors
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Julius Erving could hardly contain his excitement when Doc Rivers was announced as the 76ers’ new head coach. “I fell out of my chair! I was like, ‘Whoa! Man, that’s awesome,’” Erving said. “I am amped – absolutely – that he is the coach of the Sixers.” The next question, naturally, was about nicknames. Could there be room for two “Docs” in Sixers territory? Doctor J’s answer was simple: “I’m very cool with that. Very cool.”
Erving says he’s more than willing to share the “Doc” title with Rivers (who got his nickname at a Marquette University basketball camp while wearing a “Doctor J” t-shirt): “The fact that I became ‘Doctor J,’ and he’s ‘Doctor G’ – ‘Doctor Glenn’ – that’s how we’re going to have to do it in Philadelphia,” Erving said. “You know, there were a lot of ‘Docs’ before me. Let’s keep the J out there, and let’s keep the G out there, because there are so many ‘Docs’ throughout the world, and we’ve got to give them their props too.”
The speed between Rivers hitting the job market and getting swooped up by the Sixers – a matter of days – wasn’t lost on Erving. “I think for him to be available, and for the decision to be made so quickly, it was a no-brainer to get him in.” Doctor J believes Doctor G can help this group of Sixers realize their potential: “The ultimate goal is the Sixers trying to win a championship. Doc has been there. I think he’s going to provide the right type of leadership and decision-making that will get the Sixers over the hump.”
Rivers, an NBA point guard for 13 seasons and a head coach for 21, recalled to Zumoff his first meeting with Hall of Famer Julius Erving. “Dr. J” was of course one of the stars when the Sixers last won an NBA championship in 1983. “First of all, I was nervous,” Rivers said. “I was embarrassed. We go up to the circle, you know, the starting lineup. I had never met Dr. J. So I walk up to him and I put my hand out and say, ‘Hey, Mr. Erving, Dr. J, Glenn Rivers.’ And he says, ‘Doc Rivers.’ And for me that was really cool that he did that, because it just showed the class of Julius — as you know, one of the classier men in the world.”