In some ways, I’ve been blessed by when and where I grew up as a sports fan. In the New York Metropolitan area we had 10 television stations counting both UHF and VHF frequencies and many of those stations featured sports either regularly or on occasion. WOR Channel 9 in New York not only had Mets games but also featured road games of the Knicks, Rangers, Islanders and Nets. That meant many evenings there was a sporting event on in our house. The 1970’s were quite a decade for those teams but the Nets games featured a young and simply incredible Julius “Dr. J” Erving.
While most of the footage from those days has disappeared into the nether world as the recording of television shows would not begin in force until the 1980’s, there is some footage available of the good doctor from his Nets days but not as much as I would like to see or remember. That is truly a shame as during those days, Erving performed in a manner no one had ever seen on a basketball court. He was the best player I ever saw in those days and dominated just about every game in which he played.
The game I would love for someone to find and post happened 39 years ago tonight. It lasted four overtimes and Erving poured in a career-high 63 points in a 176-166 loss to the San Diego Conquistadors, one of the highest scoring games in pro basketball history. I remember watching that game (or at least some of it) and seeing the New York Post’s story the next day. It was a performance for the ages with Dr. J scoring at will and living, it seemed, up around the rim.
For collectors who appreciate his career, any card during his playing career is appreciated but none more so than his 1972-73 Topps rookie card. It can be tough to find at the highest quality levels and mint, graded examples sell for big bucks. In cooperation with eBay, this SGC 92 (8.5) example is our Card of the Day. It’s at a slightly more modest level. Doc is pictured with his first pro team, the Virginia Squires, who signed him out of UMass, away from the NBA–quite a coup for the young league, although no one could have predicted superstardom for him then.
There are also numerous Topps proofs from the printing process of that card up for sale on eBay as well as hundreds of other cards from Dr. J’s long career. See them here.
Have an idea for ‘Card of the Day’? It doesn’t have to be an iconic rookie card like this. We’ll take suggestions for all kinds of sports cards. Contact me at [email protected] with your ideas.