During his 16-year career, Long Island native Julius "Dr. J" Erving was a groundbreaking player whose rim-shaking style of play changed the world of pro basketball. The Roosevelt High graduate led the the Nets to two ABA championships and set the foundation for the NBA-ABA merger in 1976.
Julius Erving, seen here during his high school days, was born in Nassau County and grew up in Roosevelt.
At the University of Massachusetts, Julius Erving averaged 32.5 points and 20.2 rebounds over two seasons before going pro.
Kentucky's Jim Bradley tried a quick break layup, but "Dr. J" Julius Erving came up behind him and stopped the shot.
The Nets' Julius Erving takes a foul from San Antonio Spurs' Larry Kenon in the first quarter as Erving drove for the basket. (Dec. 19, 1975)
Nets' star Julius Erving goes up for a dunk during an ABA game against the Virginia Squires. Erving's athleticism popularized the slam dunk and made the play into the spectacle that it is today. His performance in the 1976 ABA Slam Dunk Contest laid the groundwork for All-Star Game skills competitions not only in basketball, but all professional sports. (Nov. 29, 1975)
Nets' star Julius Erving goes up for a lay up in a game against the Denver Nuggets.
Julius Erving of the New York Nets drives to the basket against Billy Paultz of the San Antonio Spurs in an American Basketball Association game on Jan. 18, 1976, at Nassau Coliseum. "Dr. J" scored 51 points that night.
Nets' star Julius Erving was well known for his style and his iconic afro.
Nets star Julius Erving goes for a finger roll during an ABA game against the Denver Nuggets in the Nassau Coliseum.
Nets' star Julius Erving jumps to block a shot. In 1974, his first season with the Nets, Erving won the ABA Most Valuable Player award and was named ABA Playoff MVP as he lead the Nets to an ABA championship victory over the Utah Stars. (May 10, 1974)
“Dr. J” finished his career as one of the best players in history. He was named to 16 All-Star teams, garnered four MVP awards, and won three league championships, two in the ABA with the Nets in 1974 and 1976 and another with the Philadelphia 76ers of the NBA.
Julius Erving hugs Nets owner Roy Boe after winning their second ABA title in 1976. The Nets would join the NBA during the following season as the two leagues merged.
Philadelphia 76ers' Julius Erving scores from an impossible angle with a finger roll over Los Angeles Lakers' Kareem Abdul-Jabbar during the 1980 NBA Finals. (May 14, 1980)
Julius Erving holds aloft his old Nets jersey as his number is retired and gets emotional as his mother, Callie Erving, gives him a hug. (April 3, 1987)