Julius Erving isn’t perfect. He said so on a conference call last week, talking about his documentary “The Doctor,” which airs tonight on NBA TV.
He had that now-famous affair with a sports writer, which produced tennis player Alexandra Stevenson.
He faced tragedy, too, suffering the deaths of a brother and son.
That was part of his message, last week. When a reporter asked him what he was “hoping the audience takes away” from the documentary, Erving said: “I hope it is that people could relate to it and identify with the human aspect portrayed in the film. Yeah, we cry, some things don’t happen the way we planned. But I don’t look at it as failures, just things we tried that didn’t work out. You only fail when you quit.”
Erving added, “Hopefully people will see someone who has a lot of humility and is not a quitter.”
That’s part of the enduring appeal of Erving. Despite being the most flamboyant of players, he was humble in the public eye. Now he’s humble enough to address himself in a human way in his documentary.
“It’s the journey of a young African-American who was very patriotic, believed in the American dream and I always adhered to it.”
He went on to say he still recites his elementary school creed by memory on occasion. Erving also said whether athletes want to be role models or not, they are.
“Only our Creator is perfect,” Erving said. “Perfect is not an option, but to be good, consistent and to be dedicated and to have goals that have an achievable end, and to reach those goals, and be able to handle those with humility, those are doable things.”
For more on Dr. J., please read this column.