Few can claim not to know the name Julius Erving, who also goes by “Dr. J.” He is one of the greatest ever to hit the hardwood on the basketball court. However, you may not know that Erving is a big fan of cigars and smoking around good company.
Erving loves a good conversation with friends while enjoying a smoke, especially if he’s talking about the NBA today. So, you’ll often find him around one of Atlanta’s many cigar lounges.
He’s in good company with NBA stars like Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, and LeBron James. All of these guys seem to know a thing or two about cigars and winning.
Julius Erving’s Early Days
Erving received his nickname from a high school friend. He grew up in Roosevelt, New York, where he attended Roosevelt High School. He would get his start playing on the high school basketball team here.
Erving went on to play college basketball at the University of Massachusetts, where he quickly became a standout athlete. He enrolled in 1968 and played two seasons with the school. Yet, during those two seasons, he averaged 26.3 points per game and 20.2 rebounds per game. It was a record that only five other players in NCAA basketball history have managed.
In 1971, Erving left college early to play for the former American Basketball Association. At the time, teams weren’t allowed to draft athletes until they were four years removed from college basketball. Thanks to a hardship rule, Erving gained eligibility.
Erving first played for the Virginia Squires team. During that time, he gained a reputation as a ferocious player for his dunking and rebounding skills. Yet, Erving led the league in offensive rebounds. He also made the All-Star team during his rookie year and placed second for rookie of the year. He later led his team to the Eastern Division Finals before losing seven games.
Erving later played one more season for the Squires. Then, thanks to a contract dispute that kept him from being drafted, he scored a career-high 31.9 points per game.
The ABA/NBA Merger
Erving later played for one more team in the ABA – the New York Nets. His performance was impressive. He ranked in the top ten of the ABA in multiple categories and led the team to the final ABA championship.
Erving’s performance was legendary. It painted the Nets as one of the standout teams in the ABA. It also was one of the reasons the Nets came in during the ABA/NBA merger in 1976.
Julius Erving 76ers Trade
Julius Erving is widely known for his career with the Philadelphia 76ers. Yet, one of the reasons for his popularity isn’t because of his phenomenal skills. After the merger, the Nets were set to dominate the new NBA with Erving as their star player. Unfortunately, a pay dispute, followed by legal disputes with the New York Knicks and several lousy trade deals, landed Erving on the 76ers; these resulted in the Nets ranking last in the entire NBA.
Erving quickly grew as an integral part of his new team. While playing alongside current and future basketball greats, he gained star status. He later played for the 76ers, where he accomplished many feats. That included his famous Baseline Move. It was a behind-the-backboard, finger-roll layup. His impressive moves, combined with leading the league with game points, two ABA championships, and an NBA championship, are why many consider him one of the best.
Julius Erving Post-Career Cigar Lifestyle
After retiring in 1986, Erving became something of a businessman. He held many interests, including joining the board of directors of Converse Shoes. He also sponsored a NASCAR team and joined a golf club, among other ventures.
When he’s not busy with business or analyzing sports, Julius Erving enjoys smoking cigars with other cigar enthusiasts. His preferences vary, but he is known to smoke some of the finest cigars. Erving is a fan of a particular shop near his home in suburban Atlanta. Rumor holds that he even has a cigar locker at a high-end shop.
Erving’s business ventures keep him traveling all over the place. Yet, he still finds time to relax and smoke cigars wherever he’s at. When smoking, he prefers to pair a good stick with a nice drink while talking with fellow smokers. Conversations usually revolve around basketball’s current state and its key players.
Erving exemplifies the cigar lifestyle, good smokes, and company in a relaxing atmosphere. Not one to smoke for the sake of it, Erving also likes to take things slow and enjoy the flavor. We can’t say the right way to enjoy a cigar, but we recommend this prescription from Dr. J.
Photo credit: “Julius Erving in 1981 performing a slam dunk against the Atlanta Hawks at en: Omni Coliseum.,” by Jim Accordino, Wikimedia Commons license CC BY 2.0.