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"Players are a little more mercenary" - Julius Erving on the lack of loyalty in today's NBA

Dr. J also thinks fans love the players more than the teams.
Philadelphia 76ers forward Julius Erving takes a shot against Boston Celtics forwards Larry Bird and Kevin McHale

Julius Erving

Julius Erving is one of the NBA legends who witnessed how their beloved game drastically changed over time. Dr. J could tell right away that among the most notable changes in the NBA is the modern-day stars’ lack of loyalty.

"I think from a generational standpoint, people now don't have the loyalty to teams like they used to have,” Erving told Bleacher Report in 2013. 

There’s no loyalty in this era

Erving played for two different teams in the ABA. But ever since the merger, the Doctor only operated for one NBA team – the Philadelphia 76ers. He won a championship with the Sixers and went down in history as arguably the greatest player to ever represent the franchise. In simpler terms, Dr. J lived and breathed Philly.

So, when sharing his diagnosis on NBA stars leaving their original teams, the Doctor pointed out that most players are now chasing money, while fans love players more than they love the teams. As for loyalty? Doc said modern-day NBA stars are not showing any symptoms of it.

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“The reason why is because players are a little more mercenary—they just don't stay with teams from the beginning of their career to the end of their career. It's just a different time. I think each fan is going to have his individuals who are their favorites. I have one son whose favorite is LeBron and another son whose favorite is Derrick Rose. I know if Derrick Rose got traded to the Philadelphia 76ers, Derrick would still be his favorite player, but Philadelphia would now become his favorite team because Derrick is playing," Erving said.

"I think a lot of kids today and fans today think like my sons do. They follow the players more than they follow the team," the Hall of Famer added.

The evolution of the so-called super teams

As time passed by, winning a championship has been added to the contributing factors players consider when switching teams. As expected, it didn’t sit well with the old heads. One of them is former Sixers head coach Larry Brown.

Erving won the chip without doing so. According to Brown, the same thing happened with the likes of Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, and Larry Bird. Therefore, he’s “miffed” by the idea of forming the so-called super teams just to win a title.

“I'm miffed by this new phenomenon in the NBA and now even in college a little bit that the great players wanna team up so they have a chance to win a championship," Brown stressed. “…Michael Jordan, Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson those guys wouldn't want to team up with great players. They would accept the responsibility [that] if I'm so talented, I'm so great, I think I can do it along with any cast of characters they could get me."

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