Julius Erving talks about Jordan, long shorts, beating his wife and more


julius-erving-cbsRetired NBA legend, Julius Erving has been doing promotion of his new book “DR J”, which is described as a brutally honest autobiography.

Erving recently appeared on CBSNews, where he talked about his book, favorite players, personal life and so on.

“It took 2 years to make the project,” Erving said, speaking of the book. “So, we finished a little less than a year ago, and I am still here, so last year was left out of the book. Maybe a part of the seventh decade was left out, as we got the first six decades.”

In the book, Erving admits that there’s something wrong with how he treats women. There are also words about him being with 8 women in 8 different days, as well as him saying he was an unfaithful husband, bad father and so on.

“In the book we look at 6 decades of life, and the rollercoaster ride associated with it, as well as ups and downs,” Erving said.

“I thought we’re going to sum it up, I’d say the times when I tried to do the right thing, were a lot less consequential than when trying to do the wrong thing. And doing the wrong thing is probably a little too strong, because sometimes you’re doing the wrong thing, and you’re not attempting to do that – you’re just using the judgement of the moment.”

Further speaking about him hitting his wife, Erving admitted that there’s no justification to such behavior.

“I’ve always taught my children, four sons and three daughters that it is an off-limits area. So in a 30-year relationship there are times, when things happen and we regret them later on,” he said.

“So I am not proponent on hitting anybody, let alone a female. I don’t fight, and I’ve had very few of those in my life. And sometimes, when you’re backed totally into a corner, and if you’re an animal you’re probably going to scratch your way out and get freedom. You’ve got to leave a room, and try to be a bigger person,” he added.

A few days ago, Richard Johnson from PageSix found a copy of Erving’s new book and wrote that Erving in the book says he wouldn’t have fathered tennis player Alexandra Stevenson, 32, if her mother hadn’t gotten braces on her teeth.

“She becomes someone who helps me unwind if I’m feeling high-strung or stressed. I can drive over and spend a relaxing evening that might even include oral sex,” Erving writes, according to Johnson.

“I can only remember one time that we actually had intercourse, and that was because she had just gotten this new orthodontia to straighten her teeth. With wire and gleaming metal bristling in her mouth, oral sex was not an option.”

However, Erving felt terrible in 1999 when his and Samantha’s out-of-wedlock daughter – playing in the semifinals at Wimbledon – was caught in a media firestorm over her famous father.

On CBSNews, Erving was asked about this, and former NBA star dismissed it, saying his words were paraphrased.

“When Alexandra was born and I was somewhat informed that I was her father, it became a legal issue. An agreement was reached between the parties and the lawyers,” Erving said, speaking about regretting not being more involved with Alexandra.

Speaking briefly about basketball, Erving said he considered Kareem Abdul-Jabbar the best player, and said that Pete Maravich was probably “the most talented one, with creativity, a genius.”

“There are guys who have talent, but don’t always use it. Pete (Maravich) always had freedom – he played with his dad in high-school, then in college. He had a free hand. How do you average 44 points per game not having a carte blanche?,” Erving said, smiling.

“Righ now, I love watching Kevin Durant play, I love watching Lebron James play. I am a fan of basketball, but not cheerleading type of fan,” he said.

Erving then was reminded of his words that when Larry Bird said Michael Jordan was the best player, Erving said it was “disrespectful” to him.

“Yes, I thought it was disrespectful at the time. Michael was a young player and he missed a season due to injury, then he scored 63 points against Boston in the playoffs. I think Larry had his hands full with me and the Sixers, and he just tried to sort of bypass us, and maybe it was a part of psychological ploy. But yeah, I did say that,” Erving explained.

In the end, Erving was asked if he’d be able to play in long shorts in the NBA, if he had a chance to go all over again.

“I’ve never played in long shorts. That’s a question to the female fans, write letters to the commissioner…let this be the first duty of the new commissioner Adam Silver,” Erving said, laughing.

Erving, a 16-time NBA All-Star won an NBA MVP title in 1981, and led the Philadelphia 76ers to four NBA Finals in seven years, eventually winning the NBA title in 1983.

Erving retired in 1987 at the age of 37, and in 1993 was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. In 1994, Erving was named by Sports Illustrated as one of the 40 most important athletes of all time. In 2004, he was inducted into the Nassau County Sports Hall of Fame.

Erving played in 836 NBA games, averaging 22 ppg, 6.7 rpg in 34.3 minutes per game. In ABA, Erving averaged 28.7 ppg, 12 rpg in 40.7 minutes of playing time in 407 games. In total, Erving played in 1243 games (NBA-ABA), averaging 24.2 ppg, 8.5 rpg.


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