As a man of a certain age who needs to take inventory of his body each morning what's working, what's not it was amazing to see Monday night's premiere of NBA TV's documentary on Julius Erving, "The Doctor."
The 90-minute program is a tribute to the life and basketball career of the Naismith Memorial Hall of Famer. From his days as a Rucker Park legend in Harlem, to the University of Massachusetts, to the American Basketball Association and finally the NBA, we learn many things about Erving that we didn't know.
But the biggest revelation comes in the final slo-motion frames: Dr. J, at age 63, lacing up his Converse hightops, grabbing a ball and soaring toward the rim the ball held high in his right hand, his left arm sticking out as if he were pushing away Artis Gilmore of the Kentucky Colonels.
And just as The Doctor begins to jam the ball through the rim, the screen goes black.
But it shouldn't have come as a surprise. Dr. J always left our jaws hanging in amazement.
Before his arrival, the NBA was bland, played primarily below the rim with chest passes and set shots. Erving spiced things up with his high-flying, acrobatic dunks, often defying gravity with amazing hangtime.
Erving was Michael Jordan before there was Michael Jordan. The only difference was Erving played mostly in obscurity years before 24-hour sports networks while Jordan played in the spotlight.
After his age-defying dunk, the bright light is on Dr. J. His legend continues to grow 27 years after his last game.
What to watch
Documentary "The Doctor," 6 p.m., NBA TV: A replay of the life and career of Julius Erving.
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Call The Bee's Victor Contreras, (916) 326-5527. Follow him on Twitter @SacBeeVictor.