Julius Erving - In The Beginning
In the Beginning
Born Julius Winfield Erving II on February 22, 1950, in Roosevelt, New York, his father abandoned the family when he was only three. At the age of seven his father was hit and killed by a car, forever erasing any possibility of having a father figure in his life. His mother raised her three kids on her own working as a house cleaner. Erving was withdrawn as a child but did well in school and athletics. He picked up basketball at the age of nine and was immediately successful on the court. At the age of ten, he led his team to the Inter-County Basketball Association championship. It was during these early years in his New York neighborhood that Erving was first called the Doctor, a name that would stick with him for the rest of his life. "Whether basketball chose me, or I chose it, I still don't know," he later recalled. "I think it's the former—it chose me."
After graduating high school he was offered many basketball scholarships and eventually decided to attend the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. In his first year, he broke the school's records for scoring and rebounding for a freshman and led his team to an undefeated season. After his junior season, Erving decided to turn professional. He made the controversial decision in 1971 after being lured by lucrative offers from the American Basketball Association (ABA). Signing with the Virginia Squires for $500,000, he would stay with the team for two years before moving to the New York Nets.