Sport: Doctor's Orders

The announcer for the Rucker summer basketball tournament in Harlem was groping for the best way to express his enthusiasm over the new court phenomenon. The youngster heard himself called "Houdini," "The Claw," "Black Moses"—and none of the nicknames pleased him. He took the announcer aside. Softly but deliberately he said, "Call me The Doctor.' " Julius Winfield Erving Jr., 21, was already demonstrating that he would be his own man.

The Doctor, or Dr. J. as it has been ever since, has become the most exciting and innovative young practitioner of the muscular art of professional basketball. With his unusual mix...

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