An honest, unflinching self-portrait of the basketball legend whose classy public image as a superstar and a gentleman masked his personal failings and painful losses, which he describes here-from his own point of view-for the very first time. For most of his life, Julius Erving has been two men in one.
There is Julius, the bright, inquisitive son of a Long Island domestic worker who has always wanted to be respected for more than just his athletic ability, and there is Dr. J, the cool, acrobatic showman whose flamboyant dunks sent him to the Hall of Fame and turned the act of jamming a basketball through a hoop into an art form.
In many ways, Erving's life has been about the push and pull of Julius and The Doctor.
It is Dr. J who has stories to tell of the wild days and nights of the ABA in the 1970s, and of being the seminal figure who transformed basketball from an earthbound and rigid game into the creative, free-flowing aerial display it is today.
He has a long list of signature plays - he's famous for winning the first dunk contest in 1976 with a jam on which he lifted off from the foul line, and he made a miraculous layup against the Lakers on which he soared behind the backboard before reaching back in to flip the ball in on the other side, with one hand.
He inspired a generation of dunkers, including Michael Jordan, to express their improvisational talents.