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"He just got a different version of it" — Julius Erving on how his finger roll resembles that of George Gervin

The backstory about Dr. J and Iceman is pretty interesting.
Julius Erving and George Gervin

Julius Erving and George Gervin

If you are from the old school, like 1970s old school, then you knew Julius Erving and George Gervin as rockstars. At the time, Dr. J and Iceman were two of the most dominant scorers in the ABA, and they picked up where they left off in the NBA. Until the ABA-NBA merger in 1976, many may not have noticed that Erving and Gervin had a sweet signature move – the ever-smooth finger roll layup.

Same result, different swag

As walking buckets of their time, Erving and Gervin had a wide array of moves in their arsenals. Dr. J gained insane popularity because of his out-of-this-world dunks, while Iceman amazed hoops fans with his gentle yet lethal finger roll layups. However, Erving said that his former Virginia Squires teammate may have revolutionized the famous move by adding some swag to it and people didn’t realize that it was also in his bag for years.

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“He just got a different version of it, from farther out, and using the big square [in the middle of the backboard]. And we’ve had that conversation man, and I’m like ‘I ain’t messing with that big square, man! I’m gonna stick with my stuff’… The good news about it was, he did it with a certain modesty. And it was like, Ice wasn’t talking a whole lot of trash. He would just let his game do the talking. And that was my style,” Erving said on The Players' Tribune last year.

Doc operated and brought out the Ice

We may all remember Erving and Gervin as two all-time greats who became the faces of their respective teams: Dr. J with the Philadelphia 76ers and Ice with the San Antonio Spurs. However, Gervin knows that he wouldn’t have become the legendary “Iceman” he is today if it wasn’t for Doc, his mentor on the Virginia Squires in the ABA.

"We all knew who the Doctor was. Having that opportunity to play with him as a rookie gave me the confidence that I needed to excel in my own career...After practice Doc used to get me and say: 'Hey, we going 1 on 1.' So after most practices, me and Doc played one on one... Doc operated. He gave me the confidence. After a week or so, the ‘Ice’ in me came out,” Gervin once confessed.

Having heard some interesting stories from Erving and Gervin, we now know that Iceman wasn’t the only one killing his opponents with his deadly finger roll. And more importantly, if there was no Dr. J, there would be no Iceman.

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