SBD/June 7, 2013/Media

What's Up, Doc? Upcoming NBA TV Doc On Erving Receives Positive Early Reviews

NBA TV's "Originals" documentaries are becoming "must-watches for any basketball fans," and the upcoming feature on Basketball HOFer Julius Erving is a "worthy follow-up" to last summer's doc on the '92 Dream Team, according to Andrew Unterberger of "The Doctor" debuts Monday at 9:00pm ET, and it "can’t quite compete with the overwhelming star power and inside-joke secrets of Dream Team." However, "The Doctor" shows Erving "definitely in full effect, as cool as ever." A "minor complaint about the movie ... would be that you don’t really get to see much of the bad with the Doctor." Though Erving's personal and home life "gets some play, absolutely no mention is made of his greatest off-court controversies, when he was revealed to have fathered children with two separate mothers in extramarital affairs." But that is "partly the nature of the beast with an NBA TV doc -- you’re never gonna get a totally objective account of an NBA subject, because they serve to glorify the subject that provides their raison d’etre more than to educate about it." You "don’t watch an NBA TV movie for hard-hitting truths, you watch it for the awesome rare footage, the great player interviews and the top-notch production values." This movie "certainly has those in spades" (, 6/6). In Utah, Brad Rock notes the documentary includes Erving talking about "tragedies that shaped his life, such as the deaths of his brother, sister and son." But it also includes "firsthand recollections of an era when the game was changing from squared-up jumpers to howling dunks" (DESERET NEWS, 6/7).

THROWING IT DOWN: In Philadelphia, Stan Hochman wrote it is a "fine film, especially for those too young to have seen Erving float above the rim." There is "tragedy mingled with the triumphs." There is "sadness," and "through it all, there is Erving's humility, his grace, his dignity" (, 6/6). On Long Island, Neil Best writes under the header, "Documentary On Dr. J A Slam Dunk." Best: "Buckle up and tune in" (NEWSDAY, 6/7).

COMING MONDAY: NBAE VP/Original Production Dion Cocoros, who oversees the "Originals" documentary series, recently talked to THE DAILY about "The Doctor" and discussed Erving's importance to the NBA-ABA merger and the mystique that surrounds the HOFer even to this day. See Monday's issue of THE DAILY for the full interview.
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