Juilus Erving, a.k.a. "Doctor J," spent the 70s and early 80s thrilling the basketball world with his high-flying, acrobatic play above the rim. His style of play was largely responsible for the ABA/NBA merger and the incorporation of many of their rules. Yesterday, he sold the single biggest emblem of that achievement, his ABA Championship ring from 1974, for a record $460,741.
All in all, Erving made over $3.5 million when he auctioned off his memorabilia. Here's what was sold based on the Slam article.
According to SCP, Erving’s 1974 New York Nets ABA championship ring netted $460,471, a record for a sports ring. Among other items auctioned by Erving were: – His 1983 76ers championship ring: $244,240. – His 1983 All-Star game MVP trophy: $115,242. – The jersey he wore in his final NBA game, a Game 5 loss to Milwaukee in the first round of the 1987 playoffs: $88,826. – Sixers reversible practice jersey: $5,522. – 1978 All-Star ring: $238,853. – Game ball used to score his 25,000th career point: $92,086. – His graduation tassel from the University of Massachusetts: $640. – His 1968 class ring from Roosevelt (N.Y.) High: $35,801. – Basketball signed by 14 members of the Sixers 1983 championship team: $11,262. – His playbook from the 1976-77 season: $16,980.
Somehow, I don't think that playbook is still in effect.
What wouldn't be sold, though, are the incredible memories he gave us.
It was 1977, and a nine-year old-Kelly Scaletta was watching his first NBA game. Now, I know that sounds old, but understand my parents weren't sports fans, and I'd been living the last three years in England, where I was watching tennis and soccer.
I got back to the states in early summer, and we were visiting my dad's best from college in Princeton, N.J.. I remember only certain things, like the 76ers winning against the Houston Rockets to clinch and go to the Finals, but mostly I remember just watching a man by the name of Dr. J and being in utter awe.
It was not possible, according to my nine-year-old mind, that a human being should be able to do the things that he was doing. The fluidity of movement was just humanly impossible.
Watching that game turned me into an NBA fan. I got to know guys named Larry and Magic, Michael and Karl and John and Kobe and LeBron and now Derrick, all because I got to watch that game where that majestic man did the impossible.
It makes me a little sad that he had to sell his items. I don't know what is going on with him personally that necessitates it. The lifetimes of memories as an NBA fan are because of him, though. Those are priceless.