Adam Aron's twitter profile reminds us that, once upon a time, the Sixers were a very successful NBA franchise. We make fun of him for it, maybe rightfully given the more recent on-court product. But tonight is not one of those nights to do that, as NBA TV releases a documentary about the life of the greatest player in Sixers history*, Julius Erving, simply titled "The Doctor."
*no, there is no argument here - it's a fact
If you've been wondering why the good doctor has been in the news recently (such as when he suggested the Lakers knew Andrew Bynum was "damaged goods"), wonder no further. The documentary will cover most aspects of his life, both his NBA and ABA careers, and his post-NBA life.
Around this time last year, the NBA released their Dream Team documentary, which was highly celebrated and watched, like, 7 times by me. I will never get over the footage of John Stockton walking through Barcelona completely unnoticed. But before the premiere tonight (9:00 PM EST, NBA TV), I have a few suggestions on how to get ready for it.
- Watch as many YouTube highlight videos of the Doctor as you can possibly find. But if you don't have time to watch all that many, here are a few to enjoy: one put together by the Sixers organization to show in-game, this NBA TV-produced list of his top 10 dunks, and his iconic reverse layup featured in an old NBA Finals commercial.
- Speaking of which, if you haven't at some point done this for some reason, go try to emulate the Dr. J reverse layup on a basketball court somewhere. It's just impossible, because you can't stay up in the air long enough. Then again, I couldn't while walking on the ground.
- Grab popcorn
- Go read Andrew Unterberger's review of the documentary over at The 700 Level. And if you have free time from now until the documentary starts, you might have enough time to read this profile from Marc Jacobson in Deadspin's archives.
- Wear high socks. This is an order. Don't question it.
- Remember again that things will hopefully be better in the future for this franchise. Trust in Hinkie Panky.
- A lot of the documentary will focus on the Doctor's ABA days, which as the previews for the documentary suggest, were the things of legend. The previews also suggest that the ABA would never have survived and merged without Erving. The modern NBA reflects a lot of the features of the ABA, which you can read about on this Wikipedia page about the merger. The takeaway from all this: Dr. J helped bring about the evolution of basketball more than any player other than probably Wilt Chamberlain.
- Related to the last point, remember how fortunate we were to acquire him in the first place.