Julius Erving Signs On To Make Sure Ice Cube’s BIG3 Basketball League Is A Slam Dunk (Video)

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Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Julius Erving helped make NBA basketball have mass appeal. The man affectionately dubbed “Dr. J” made the slam dunk an institution, long before SportsCenter and other programs were there to celebrate its art. Aside from flare and pageantry, Erving was an incredible basketball player. He led the Philadelphia 76ers to their 1983 championship, and was voted to 16 all-star games (11 for the NBA, with five other in the ABA), and three MVPs. The 6’7″ 67 year old is now among the legends who will pioneer Ice Cube’s BIG3 basketball league.

Erving has signed on to coach one of the eight franchises in three-on-three league The BIG3, whose season begins June 25 at Barclays Center. He joins a league of other team leaders that includes Allen Iverson, Charles Oakley, Gary Payton, George Gervin, Clyde Drexler, Rick Barry, and Rick Mahorn. Inevitably facing A.I., Erving (who led the Sixers to their last championship) will pit his team against fellow Hall of Famer Philly’s biggest name of the ’90s and 2000s. A.I. will be among the league’s player-coaches.

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“This is an extraordinary moment for BIG3. In securing Dr. J as a coach, we have brought on one of the most iconic basketball players in history. I cannot wait to see him coach these basketball legends,” Cube said in a statement.

Since retiring in 1987, Dr. J earned his bachelors degree from the University of Massachusetts (where he also studied in 1968-1971). He’s owned a soft drink bottling plant in Philadelphia. While Erving did not coach in the NBA, he was previously involved in the front office of the Orlando Magic. He remains the sixth highest all-time scorer in NBA history.

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The BIG3 team drafts are still ahead. That will place Erving with a franchise and squad of five players.

#BonusBeat: Though Erving will not be lacing up to take the court, make no mistake. He still has formidable skills. Here’s a video showing he can still dunk:

Erving played for the ABA’s Virginia Squires and New Jersey Nets before joining the Sixers.