SBD/June 10, 2013/Media

Erving Says Lots Of Effort Went Into Making Of "The Doctor," Calls It Not Typical Documentary

Erving in the film returns to Nassau Coliseum, where he starred in the ABA
Basketball HOFer Julius Erving this morning said people who watch NBA TV's documentary "The Doctor," which debuts tonight, will see a "lot of what they see in today's game," as he was "one of a handful of guys who were doing these things back in the day." Erving, appearing on ESPN Radio's "Mike & Mike in the Morning," said, "The highlights will allow this audience to immediately relate to what they see in high school, college and the pros right now. The rest of the story, which is the personal side of my life story, is something that many, many people will be able to relate to because they understand that even life as professional athletes are not apple pie and ice cream." There has been a "lot of effort put into this" and it is "not the typical documentary." It is "very biographical in terms of my beginnings." Erving: "It answers some of the questions anybody may have in terms of where did this guy come from and what's he really made of?" ("Mike & Mike in the Morning," ESPN Radio, 6/10). CBSSPORTS.com's Ken Berger reported Erving appreciates that "so many of the modern stars," including Heat F LeBron James, Lakers G Kobe Bryant and Thunder F Kevin Durant, recognize and "speak freely about the path that Erving and others paved for them." Erving: "I don't think LeBron is generous with praise of others. Certainly, those first five or six years he wasn't, and now he is in the later years. That's all part of his growth and development where he could appreciate what transpired before. I'm certainly appreciative of anything he has to say that compliments me or other people who have made great contributions to the game of basketball" (CBSSPORTS.com, 6/8).

MORE POSITIVE REVIEWS: In Akron, George Thomas wrote “The Doctor” offers a “compelling portrait of the man, delving into his personal life, but maintaining the focus on the professional.” However, it is what the filmmakers “left out that’s equally compelling.” The film does not make any mention of “his biracial daughter who was born out of wedlock to a sportswriter with whom Erving had an affair.” Perhaps it is a subject "that he didn’t want to broach, which is his right, but it would have added that much more to the story of a man for whom image was extremely important” (AKRON BEACON JOURNAL, 6/9). CBSSPORTS.com’s Berger wrote the film "breathes new life into his legend” (CBSSPORTS.com, 6/8). SI.com’s Richard Deitsch wrote one of the “best parts” of the documentary is that it “provides basketball fans under 30 a visceral sense of just how transcendent Erving was as a player.” One of the film's strengths “is Erving returning to his native Long Island to retrace his basketball steps, including stops at the home he grew up in and the Nassau Coliseum, where he starred in the ABA with the Nets.” The film is “solid work by NBA TV and the footage of Erving in his prime is extraordinary” (SI.com, 6/9). In N.Y., Richard Sandomir writes the film “will make basketball fans smile,” while it also “might make you cry.” But “hagiographies eventually stop at some point before a full portrait has been completed.” NBA TV “evidently decided that his on-court feats, his struggle to win an NBA title, his influence on Michael Jordan, his sensitivity as a father, his coolness and his role as a basketball ambassador were enough for 90 minutes” (N.Y. TIMES, 6/10).
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