Julius Erving was one of the first premiere highflyers in the NBA and someone who popularized the dunk and turned it into an art form. Popularly known as “The Doctor”, he won several dunk contests, and apart from that was an incredibly talented player capable of leading a franchise in the right direction. In an interview with David Friedman, Julius talked about the dunk contest today and whether he would compete in it.
Erving, who is a basketball purist, would not use any props or and thinks players are overreacting with all the show they put on. He also believes the best dunks are the onest done against an opposing player because that brings out the best dunks.
“What comes after the (Superman) tights and the cape? I think that the more that the Slam Dunk Contest resembles the actions of the mascots, the more that the crowd loves it. So, it seems to be about playing to the crowd, so I guess if I were 26, and in the Slam Dunk Contest I would do something to play to the crowd but I think that it is a little unfair that the slam dunkers, as talented as they are, have to resort to that to get favor from the judges or from the crowd. I am a little bit of a purist in that regard. I’d rather see no props allowed–or maybe a teammate because I think playing against opposition brings out the best dunks.
Erving admits he is old school and said players need to show more style when trying to impress everyone with their dunking ability without using any props.
“I think that my best dunks were when somebody was trying to block my shot. So if you want to put props in terms of resistance, that’s one thing, but chairs and ladders and trampolines and all of that have turned it into too much of a sideshow. From a purist’s standpoint–and I’m not a player hater or anything, I’m just old school–bring the juice and show me what you’ve got but do away with the props.”