Skip to main content

Julius Erving remembers his matchups against Michael Jordan: 'He was trying to find himself'

JORDAN VS JULIUS

When Michael Jordan was drafted in the NBA by the Chicago Bulls, numerous coaches and analysts knew he would immediately be great. Still, nobody expected it would be to an extent he showcased already in his rookie season where he already seemed like one of the best players in the NBA. Soon fans started making comparisons, and the first player that came to mind was the already established icon Julius Erving a.k.a The Doctor. Seeing Jordan was like seeing the 2.0 version of Julius even though Erving was already at the tail end of his career. Similarities were astonishing from the leaping ability, explosiveness, giant hands that quickly controlled the ball, and most importantly, unbelievable swagger.

Erving recently made a guest appearance on the Knuckleheads podcast featuring Darius Miles and Quentin Richardson. He talked about the times he played against Jordan and shared his observations from those encounters. Even though Jordan blossomed early on in the NBA, showcasing his ability to dominate on both ends of the floor, he came to an incredibly unbalanced Bulls team with many internal problems. That is something that Erving noticed as well, observing Jordan and the Bulls during those years.

MJ and I played against each other — there were three years where we overlapped. I caught him before he really hit his stride. He was scoring a lot of points, but he was trying to find himself. Find the right mix of teammates. There were a lot of things going on during that time.

Julius Erving, via Knuckleheads Podcast

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

The fans that were able to see both Erving and Jordan battle it out are fortunate because even though it was for a short period, they had some exciting matchups against each other. You can find some highlights on Youtube, where you see Jordan in his athletic prime and raw talent while Julius, despite being in his mid 30's was still one of the most athletic players in the NBA. Erving recalls when they both traded dunks against each other, while Jordan initiated a bit of trash-talking, he can repeat that anytime during the game.

It was funny, because I remember one time he came down and dunked on our whole team … and then I went down and dunked on his team. So I'm looking at him, and he's looking at me. And he was like … 'I can do it again, you know?' And I was like, 'Alright, well, I only get one shot at it and I made it!' But it was fun. Those years where we overlapped, I always liked him and felt he had a lot of respect and admiration. He was going to carry the torch, and he certainly desired to do it. He did a hell of a job at it.

Julius Erving, via Knuckleheads Podcast

The game they are probably talking about is the one that happened in 1985 in which Jordan scored 31 points while showcasing some spectacular plays on both ends of the floor. This game also featured a young Charles Barkley and anyone and the rest of that great Sixers squad, a legitimate title contender for several years.

Erving himself was a class act and a respected NBA player throughout his entire career, and Jordan was the same in that regard, but he even took it to the next level because of his impact on popularizing the game globally. After Erving retired in 1987, it was left in good hands with Jordan leading the way and soon establishing himself as probably the most outstanding player in NBA history.

Bol Bol

Paolo Banchero compares Bol Bol to highly-touted prospect Victor Wembanyama - “Bol’s a freak of nature”

Banchero tried to avoid comparing Bol to Victor Wembanyama, but outlined the similarities between the star prospect and the new member of Orlando's frontcourt

Toronto Raptors

Fred VanVleet believes the Toronto Raptors would have three-peated had Kawhi Leonard stayed with the team

VanVleet said that had Leonard stuck with Toronto, the Raptors could have three-peated by winning the 2020 and 2021 NBA Finals

Washington Wizards point guard Gilbert Arenas playing against the New York Knicks

"Everybody wants to play in the Garden, besides the Knicks" — Gilbert Arenas goes in on New York Knicks fans

Gilbert Arenas breaks down why superstars don't want to play for the New York Knicks

Los Angeles Lakers guard Patrick Beverley

"Patrick Beverley in the playoffs is an issue" — Iman Shumpert speaks on Patrick Beverley's value to the Los Angeles Lakers

Not everyone can see it right now, but Shumpert understands the importance of Pat Bev to the Lakers.

kobe-bryant-shaquille-o'neal-min

"It was an unmitigated slaughter calling out Shaq on everything" — Kobe Bryant savagely criticized Shaquille O'Neal in an unreleased statement

Sports Illustrated's Howard Beck talked about at the unpublished Kobe interview where he apparently ripped Shaq like never before.

Chicago Bulls guard Michael Jordan

"He’ll give you the shirt off his back" — Juwan Howard's Michael Jordan story reveals the other side of Black Jesus

Juwan Howard expected to get trash-talked to death upon seeing Michael Jordan in Los Angeles.

Boston Celtics legend Kevin Mchale, Marcus Smart, Blake Griffin, Grant Williams, Malcom Brogdon

“The team honestly is stronger than any one coach” — Kevin McHale explains why Ime Udoka's scandal did not crumble the Boston Celtics

Celtics legend Kevin McHale admitted that he thought Udoka's suspension would significantly affect the Boston Celtics