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Julius Erving Rumors

Julius Erving: Those of us who played in the NBA in the 1980s definitely played a role in what the league has become today. And I think that in communicating with the next generation of players, they gave a lot of credit to myself and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. If you start in 1980, and you look at the guys who were the All-Pro players, the MVPs or whatever, there was an acceptance, and there was the crossing-over between the different ethnicities that created a pretty good melting pot.
Julius Erving: I look at the commercial success that happened with myself, with Larry Bird, with Converse and Spalding as an example, and the next wave with Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan. It didn’t just happen. There were shoulders we were standing on. There was Bill Russell, who’s been a dear friend for many, many years. Oscar Robertson, Jerry West, and even the lesser-celebrated guys like Walt Bellamy, Lou Hudson, Pete Maravich. We were just trying to kind of give them credit and understand their struggle. They were always taking commercial flights. Before that, I mean, there were guys taking trains and buses. It is so much different now.
When touching on how older players helped in their player development as young athletes in the league, Barkley praised Karl Malone and Julius Erving for setting him on the right path both on and off the court. For the Nets star, not only did he praise many of his former Sonics teammates, but he also credited them for being responsible for his work ethic. “Kurt Thomas, Donyell Marshall, Andra Griffin … my rookie year. Francisco Elson … Got Wally Szczerbiak. They kind of introduced me to what it means to work as an NBA player. You have an idea in college and high school what it means to work after practice and how to practice hard, but once you get into the league and you got six months of this everyday (for) 82 games, you got to condition your mind and your body and have older dudes that have been through the grind. That definitely helps.”