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Monday, May 07, 2012

Julius Erving Rejoins 76ers as "Strategic Advisor"

Julius Erving scored his first professional points as a Virginia Squire and he won two championships while establishing himself as the best all-around player in the sport as a New York Net but he will forever be remembered by most fans for the 11 years he spent as a Philadelphia 76er; Erving made the All-Star team in each of those 11 seasons, earned seven All-NBA selections (including five First Team nods), became the first non-center to win the NBA regular season MVP in nearly 20 years and was an All-NBA performer for arguably the greatest single season squad in league history--the 1983 team that made a run at winning 70 regular season games before authoring the most dominant NBA postseason performance up to that time (12-1, a mark later surpassed by the 2001 Lakers team that went 15-1 in an expanded playoff format).

Erving has not been officially affiliated with the 76ers since he retired in 1987. It is unfortunate that the 76ers have tended not to celebrate their proud history; at the end of Erving's "Farewell Tour" during the 1986-87 season, the normally diplomatic Erving criticized the 76ers for failing to create a "family tradition," adding "I'm the first player from this organization able to announce that this would be his last season here. Everyone else has either been cut, traded, waived or just kind of disappeared. Too many guys leave here on bad terms."

New 76ers owners Adam Aron and Joshua Harris are moving the franchise in a new direction, one that embraces the past while also building toward the future. In the wake of Erving's record $3.5 million auction of more than 100 items from his personal memorabilia collection, Aron stated that he wanted to create a way for Erving to rejoin the franchise. Aron and Harris have now made good on that pledge by hiring Erving as a "Special Advisor."

Here is a statement from Erving:

"I have such fond memories of my many playing years with the Philadelphia 76ers in the 1970s and 1980s. I look forward to continuing that long association with the 76ers in this day. I have been impressed by the initial steps taken by this new ownership group to reconnect the Sixers with their fans, and I am confident that the future of the 76ers looks quite bright. I know that I will greatly enjoy being able to offer advice and counsel to the team and its owners. It will also be particularly pleasing to me to have frequent and sustained contact directly with the 76ers fan base, who have been so kind to me over the years. Once a Sixer, always a Sixer."

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posted by David Friedman @ 11:04 PM

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