Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Dr. J

Julius Irving became a legend on the playgrounds of New York at Rucker Park. Fans gave him the nickname Dr. J because he operated so well on the court. Dr. J would go on to win ABA championships, NBA championships, and revolutionize the way basketball is played. His aerial assaults on the rim influenced such players as Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, and Michael Jordan. Recently Dr. J memorabilia fetched a whopping $3,500,000 in the biggest online sports auction ever. For true Doc fans this is hardly a surprise.

I remember growing up as a kid everybody tried to emulate the Dr. J underhand scoop shot. It was the move that gave you credibility if you could pull it off. I remember Dr. J barreling down the sidelines unleashing a thunderous jam all over Michael Cooper's forehead. I remember the Doc taking off from the free throw line in two separate dunk contests. I remember watching The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh for no good reason other than Dr. J was in it.

Dr. J was the idol of a generation. His poetic, graceful moves resonated through the television and into pop culture. Grover Washington Jr. wrote a song for him, Run DMC paid tribute to him in their lyrics, and Converse still runs commercials with him depicted as some mythical god like figure. The DR. J persona has withstood the test of time like classic Mowtown hits, muscle cars, and Rolex watches.

It's unfortunate Julius Irving had to part with some of his most prized possessions. His career ended just before NBA salaries started to skyrocket. His popularity carried the NBA for decades yet his financial situation is nothing like the stars of today. I can't see Lebron, Kobe, or his airness selling their championship rings or MVP trophies. I wonder if the players of today realize how different things would be if it weren't for the Doc.

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