Julius Erving, the great and wondrous "Dr. J," was the dominant player of his era, an innovator who changed the way the game was played. He was a wizard with the ball, performing feats never before seen: midair spins and whirls punctuated by powerful slam-dunks.
Erving, came along with advent of Cable and ESPN and set the stage for Michael Jordan to become “Air Jordan.” In his five ABA seasons, Erving won three scoring titles, three Most Valuable Player Awards and two league championships.
During his 11-year NBA career, Erving was an All-Star each season, the league's Most Valuable Player in 1981 and a five-time member of the All-NBA First Team. He scored 30,026 points in his combined ABA and NBA career; A number that only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Michael Jordan, and Wilt Chamberlain surpassed.
In the 1972 NBA draft he was chosen by the Milwaukee Bucks, a year after he was already playing in the ABA, if he had went to the Bucks he would have been teammates with Kareem and Oscar Robertson, but instead he attempted to join the Atlanta Hawks in 1972-73 season, he was all suited up and ready to play for the Hawks when a court order sought by the Virginia Squires of the ABA forced his to return to the ABA.
When the ABA merged with the NBA in 1976 Erving joined the Philadelphia 76ers. Dr. J. led the Sixers to the NBA championship against the Portland Trailblazers where they lost in six games.
Back in the championship round for the 1979-80 season In Game Four, against the Los Angles Lakers, Erving made the legendary "Baseline Move" which is the headline picture of this article, that would go down as one of the most spectacular shots in NBA history.
First he drove past defender Mark Landsberger along the right baseline and left his feet on that side of the backboard with a layup in mind. Abdul-Jabbar’s outstretched arms quickly blocked his route to the rim.
Erving brought the ball back down and just continued to float, seemingly forever, passing behind the backboard while appearing to glide slightly to the left in midair. He finally cleared all the way to the other side of the hoop, reached back in toward the court and put up a soft, underhanded scoop for the score.
"Here I was, trying to win a championship, and my mouth just dropped open," Magic Johnson, then a rookie, recalled. "He actually did that. I thought, 'What should we do? Should we take the ball out or should we ask him to do it again?'"
It wasn’t until the 1982-83 season, when the Sixers obtained Moses Malone that Dr. J. and Moses were able to put together one of the greatest teams of all-time and win the NBA championship, going 12-1 including sweeping the Los Angles Lakers in the Finals.
Well there you have my choice as the top five greatest small-forwards in NBA history.