Overview

When Julius Erving announced that he would retire from the NBA after the 1986–87 season, every away game on the Philadelphia 76ers' schedule became a stop on the Dr. J farewell tour. Fans across the nation rose to their feet to honor the man who had both transformed and transcended basketball with his astounding physical abilities, impeccable showmanship, and truly admirable character.

In Doc, celebrated sports writer and lifelong Dr. J fan Vincent Mallozzi traces Erving's epic ...

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Doc: The Rise and Rise of Julius Erving

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Overview

When Julius Erving announced that he would retire from the NBA after the 1986–87 season, every away game on the Philadelphia 76ers' schedule became a stop on the Dr. J farewell tour. Fans across the nation rose to their feet to honor the man who had both transformed and transcended basketball with his astounding physical abilities, impeccable showmanship, and truly admirable character.

In Doc, celebrated sports writer and lifelong Dr. J fan Vincent Mallozzi traces Erving's epic basketball journey from the asphalt courts of his Hempstead, Long Island, childhood through his final season with the Sixers and beyond. He follows Doc through his days at Harlem's legendary Rucker Park, where so many basketball greats were nurtured, and his three seasons at the University of Massachusetts, where "the best kept secret in sports" wowed teammates and coaches with his explosive leaping ability even though dunking was forbidden by the NCAA at the time.

Drawing on scores of interviews with friends and family, coaches, teammates, and opponents, sportswriters and broadcasters, and team owners and managers, this definitive biography reveals new and compelling information about the founding father of modern basketball. You'll meet Dr. J's first coach and his first crush, tour his first court and his first job, and even take a look at his high school scouting report.

Coach Lou Carnesecca reveals why the Nets refused to hire Erving in 1971, forcing him to spend his first two professional seasons with the Virginia Squires. Nets owner Roy Boe defends his 1976 decision to sell his best and most loyal player to the Philadelphia 76ers, and Charles Barkley remembers how he was guided through his rookie season by the soon-to-retire superstar who was always willing to go out of his way to help a teammate.

A University of Massachusetts teammate recounts the awful night when he drove a distraught Erving home after the death of his brother Marvin. And childhood friend and teammate Archie Rogers marvels at the loyalty and generosity of the man who stood by him, even after Rogers became a drug addict and thief, and was arrested and sent to prison.

Complete with dazzling photos from Dr. J's early years and his pro career, Doc is a fitting tribute to a basketball genius who turned his passion for the sport into America's passion. Whether you're a Dr. J fan from way back or someone who has never experienced the thrill of seeing him play, this powerful portrait will give you new insight into one of the greatest players who ever graced the court.

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Editorial Reviews

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
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)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780470506646
  • Publisher: Turner Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 10/8/2009
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 766,262
  • File size: 2 MB

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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