Last night, NBA TV aired a fantastic documentary on Julius Erving, a guy whose legacy has been hurt by scant TV footage, a prime during the dark days of the late-70s (when drug use and apathy almost destroyed the league), and weird, impossible-to-quantify ABA stats, which all caused the Doc to get looked over when ranking the greatest ever. The grainy, slow-moving games shown last night, though, especially from his dominant time with the New York Nets, were an absolute revelation to someone who grew up with the mainstream NBA. Here was a guy who looked to be playing something completely different from the squares who tried to guard him. He literally did hang in the air; all the hyperbole was true. I grew up with Michael, I've watched LeBron play over a hundred times on TV—but my jaw hit the floor when Erving made this layup over the Lakers. And his free-throw line slam dunk was arguably more impressive than Jordan's.
(And perhaps most importantly, the doc made a strong, strong case that Dr. J is the coolest athlete fucking ever. The guy dressed to the nines, talked like a caricature of the coolest dude at the party, and flew with an afro. Eat your heart out, Walt Frazier.)
Anyway, Doctor J was bookended by a question: Could the 63-year-old still dunk? Even with an old man's knees and decades out of the league? The answer was an emphatic yes.
Watch this thing when it reairs on NBA TV.