Doc: The Rise and Rise of Julius Erving

Overview

The definitive biography of basketball genius Julius Erving—the icon who transcended his sport and defined an era

Julius Erving, aka Dr. J, was a wizard with the basketball, performing feats the world had never seen before: midair spins and whirls punctuated by powerful slam dunks, which he was the first to glamorize. In a career that lasted from the 1970s well into the 1980s, he was one of the first players to make extemporaneous individual expression an integral part of the ...

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Overview

The definitive biography of basketball genius Julius Erving—the icon who transcended his sport and defined an era

Julius Erving, aka Dr. J, was a wizard with the basketball, performing feats the world had never seen before: midair spins and whirls punctuated by powerful slam dunks, which he was the first to glamorize. In a career that lasted from the 1970s well into the 1980s, he was one of the first players to make extemporaneous individual expression an integral part of the game, setting the style of play that has prevailed ever since. He's also long been respected as a gracious, dignified, and disciplined man. As there are great men of history, there are great men of sports, and Dr. J is just such a man.

This book tells Dr. J's amazing story, following his basketball journey from his Long Island childhood to the street games of New York City to a college career as his skills, reputation, and character grew. It follows his entrance into the ABA, where he revolutionized the game by glamorizing the dunk, and his conquering of the NBA, where he was Michael Jordan before there was a Jordan. It relates the family struggles he's had since leaving the game and charts the transformation of the man into myth.

  • The first complete biography of one of the greatest and most popular basketball players of all time
  • Draws on interviews with Dr. J's childhood friends and his family to teammates and coaches at all levels
  • Written by a New York Times sports journalist and author of Asphalt Gods: An Oral History of the Rucker Tournament
  • Includes Erving's years as a player with the Virginia Squires, New York Nets, and Philadelphia 76ers

Read Doc and follow the incredible journey of the basketball genius who elevated the game off the hardwood and helped make it America's passion.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
* Before young basketball players wanted to Be Like Mike, they aspired to fly like Julius Erving. Noted basketball writer Mallozzi was one of those kids who modeled his game after the man they called Dr. J, and his biography does justice to one of the greatest basketball players ever. While Erving declined to be interviewed for the book, there's enough insight from those close to him for a complete portrayal. Erving goes from a talented but not heavily recruited high schooler to a rising collegiate standout at the University of Massachusetts, and eventual superstar in the ABA (New York Nets) and NBA (Philadelphia 76ers). Of course, Erving is most known for his aerial assaults, looking like an "angel flying across the heavens." Beyond that, Mallozzi shows us how Erving not only developed an all-around game to complement his acrobatics but also became a consummate teammate, a mentor to younger players and a friend to both former coaches and players. There's also the darker side of Erving's life, mostly after his retirement, including the tragic death of his teenage son and lengthy saga about his once-estranged daughter. But in the end, Mallozzi concludes that Erving is as good a person as he was a basketball player, and based on the near-unanimous consensus on that premise by those interviewed, it's hard to argue. It's a well-researched yet fun look into the man to whom current NBA dunkers owe a debt of gratitude. (Dec.) (Publishers Weekly, October 26, 2009)
Publishers Weekly
Before young basketball players wanted to Be Like Mike, they aspired to fly like Julius Erving. Noted basketball writer Mallozzi was one of those kids who modeled his game after the man they called Dr. J, and his biography does justice to one of the greatest basketball players ever. While Erving declined to be interviewed for the book, there's enough insight from those close to him for a complete portrayal. Erving goes from a talented but not heavily recruited high schooler to a rising collegiate standout at the University of Massachusetts, and eventual superstar in the ABA (New York Nets) and NBA (Philadelphia 76ers). Of course, Erving is most known for his aerial assaults, looking like an “angel flying across the heavens.” Beyond that, Mallozzi shows us how Erving not only developed an all-around game to complement his acrobatics but also became a consummate teammate, a mentor to younger players and a friend to both former coaches and players. There's also the darker side of Erving's life, mostly after his retirement, including the tragic death of his teenage son and lengthy saga about his once-estranged daughter. But in the end, Mallozzi concludes that Erving is as good a person as he was a basketball player, and based on the near-unanimous consensus on that premise by those interviewed, it's hard to argue. It's a well-researched yet fun look into the man to whom current NBA dunkers owe a debt of gratitude. (Dec.)
Library Journal
Mallozzi (Asphalt Gods), a sports journalist, writes in a straightforward, unpretentious style that will have readers hooked after reading his heartfelt dedication. He starts with Erving's childhood, the son of a single mother on Long Island, NY, then moves through Erving's basketball career in college, the ABA and the NBA, with firsthand accounts from important people in Erving's life from childhood on, including Dave Anderson, Marv Albert, and Bob Costas. Erving faced numerous struggles both on and off the court; Mallozzi offers details about Erving's affairs and the divorce proceedings from his wife, Turquoise, of nearly 30 years. Some of this material is quite graphic, which makes the book more suitable for adults. While the personal details end the book on a shadowy note, as a whole this is an encouraging and positive work about one of basketball's legendary greats. VERDICT Mallozzi does what he promises: he presents Erving's life honestly as it occurred. This is a quick read that will be appreciated by most basketball fans.—Rachel Winchel, Louisiana Tech Univ., Ruston
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780470170182
  • Publisher: Turner Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 11/2/2009
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 286
  • Sales rank: 983,415
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Vincent M. Mallozzi is a New York Times reporter who covers sports, metropolitan, and society news. He has written three books on basketball, including Asphalt Gods: An Oral History of the Rucker Tournament. He was a producer of the ESPN basketball documentary Big in the Mind, the story of the New York streetball legend Joe Hammond, and is a member of the Pro Rucker Basketball Hall of Fame.
Mallozzi's professional basketball career, with the Brooklyn Wonders of the ABA in December 2006, lasted 91 seconds. (The playing time came in exchange for a Sunday column in the New York Times.) Born and raised in East Harlem, Mallozzi is a graduate of St. John's University, where he was later a professor of journalism, and of the Technical University of Budapest in Hungary. He now lives in Aberdeen, New Jersey, with his wife, Cathy, and their three sons, Christopher, Michael, and Mark.
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Table of Contents

Foreword by Dave Anderson.

Preface.

Acknowledgments.

1 A Leap of Faith.

2 Decisions, Decisions.

3 Doc Signs with the Squires.

4 Julius and Dave Down by the Schoolyard.

5 Asking for Another Raise.

6 Coming Home.

7 In a League of His Own.

8 Another Contract Dispute.

9 A Philadelphia Phenomenon.

10 Waiting to Hit Pay Dirt.

11 Swan Song.

12 The Ghost of Samantha Stevenson.

13 Cory Disappears.

14 Up Close and Very Personal.

15 Just Like Old Times.

Epilogue.

Index.

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2010

    Dr J is the ultimate surgeon

    If you ever saw Dr J play basketball the you saw the privlege that many of today's youth never saw: simply the best basketball player ever, bar none. His signature dunks were and still are works of art. Erving had a nature and skill of opening up a game that could literally bring down the house. His ABA days were possibly his best. Even when he came to the NBA he still had plenty of game left. The book simply takes the reader through his life and his humble family beginings. The author also very subjectivly takes you through his very successful playing days and some of his not so successful personal travels. Just simply if you like basketball and like reading about great players than this is the book for you. Great reading!!!!!!!!!!

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