They didn't get--or want--all of it, but the Philadelphia 76ers were active bidders on the Dr. J memorabilia that was sold by SCP Auctions last week. The team's CEO, Adam Aaron, says the Sixers were the winning bidder on ten lots containing 18 items.
More than 140 items from Julius Erving's collection sold for a record $3.5 million as part of a $6.5 million auction event that also included what may be Lou Gehrig's last Yankee home run bat.
Aron told the Associated Press that the team plans to put the Dr. J items on display at the Wells Fargo Center and the club's practice facility. It's apparently an effort to woo the 61-year-old Hall of Famer into a closer relationship with the franchise. The AP reported that Erving knew the team was bidding on the items.
While some of Erving's championship rings, including one from the 1983 Sixers, sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars, Aron told the AP that the team didn't go over $10,000 on any one lot. They bought items from his days at UMass in addition to ABA and NBA memorabilia and awards that showed off Dr. J's good deeds in the community. Included in their shopping cart: late 1970s warmups he wore in practice, signed Converse shoes, and letters he received from former presidents.
"We spent some real money," Aron told the wire service. "We'll have some fun Dr. J things to show our fans and our players."
Erving, considered one of the most popular players in history, sold the items because he said he wasn't really a collector and wanted to donate some of the proceeds to the Salvation Army. However, there is "more where that came from". On Monday, SCP launched Part II of the Erving collection, featuring more awards including his 1970 NIT and 1977 ABA Player of the Year watches, jerseys and trunks he wore, All-Star Game rings and dozens of other items.