Basketball’s Julius Erving Joins Mural Arts Program at Wall Ball

Julius "Dr. J" Erving and Jane Golden, Exec. Dir, Mural Arts program

Right before the Memorial Day weekend, basketball legend and one-time Philadelphia 76er Julius “Dr. J” Erving showed his support for Philly’s Mural Arts Program by joining with the organization at its annual fundraising celebration, the Wall Ball. The colorful party and dinner was hosted by Fox29’s Mike Jerrick at Vie (600 N. Broad Street), with an after party next door at Chef Marc Vetri’s Alla Spina.

The 63-year-old, Hall of Famer was dapper in his tuxedo with his hair a distinguished shade of grey. Famed for turning the slam dunk into an artistic, balletic move, Erving is the fifth-highest scorer in pro basketball history with 30,026 points. In Philly, “Dr. J” is most loved for pushing the Sixers to an NBA Championship during the 1982–83 season (Moses Malone helped, don’t forget).

When Erving stopped playing in 1987, he didn’t just retire his number “6” jersey with the Sixers and lay around the house. Instead he went into business, taking over a Philly Coca-Cola bottling plant, working as a sports television analyst, and in 1997, becoming an Executive VP of the Orlando Magic basketball team.

Julius Erving mural at 8th & Mt. Vernon in Phila
Julius Erving mural at 8th & Mt. Vernon in Phila.
It’s the look of the businessman, “my transition out of basketball,” that Erving says he wanted to show off when he posed for photos for his mural that appears at 8th and Mt. Vernon Streets in Philadelphia. “It was an honor to be asked, for sure,” says Erving, talking about the Mural Arts Program’s rendering of the baller that was erected in the summer of 1989. “I used to take friends and family there (to see the mural) all the time. Still do. My favorite thing was to take players from other teams by there without telling them where we were driving. Suddenly, they’d look up and say “wow, that’s you.” I had to laugh. “Why did you think I drove you here, fool?”

At the 2013 Wall Ball, Erving met up first with Mural Arts Executive Director Jane Golden, before introducing the night’s honorees, City Council President Darrell L. Clarke and members of The Philadelphia 76ers front office. The late, real estate developer Tony Goldman was honored in memoriam, and silent auctions were held throughout the evening to benefit the Mural Arts Program.

Photos ©A.D. Amorosi for Glamorosi, all rights reserved

Posted on Friday, May 24, 2013