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Dr. J: My Life Above the Rim and Behind Closed Doors

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  589 ratings  ·  101 reviews
At long last, a high-flying American legend comes cown to earth to tell his life story

With flights of improvisation around the basket, and his towering afro, Julius Erving became one of the most charismatic (and revolutionary) players basketball has ever known. A cool, acrobatic showman, his flamboyant dunks sent him to the Hall of Fame and turned the act of jamming a bask
Hardcover, 431 pages
Published November 5th 2013 by Harper (first published May 21st 2013)
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4.02  · 
Rating details
 ·  589 ratings  ·  101 reviews

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Jon Stephens
Jan 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
As a huge fan of the game of basketball, and the NBA in particular, I was incredibly excited to read Dr. J’s autobiography. At the end of this lengthly book (423 pages) the best word to describe how I feel about it is conflicted.

Dr. J is a very detailed account of Erving’s life and very accomplished career. For fans of ABA and NBA history, this book is especially fascinating. The book goes back and forth between Erving’s personal life and his relationship with basketball. Reading about Erving’s
Jan 06, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another run of the mill biography. This autobiography requires that you a be a fan of The Doctor for maximum enjoyment. It is much like Earl the Pearl's autobiography, only slightly better written. Loaded with wins and stats, but not much inside stuff. As a fan, I remember how many points you had in a particular game, I recall the unbelievable move against Kareem, I watched these moments. So for Julius to just relate these moments mean very little to those who witnessed it. And for the uninitiat ...more
Lauren Ukkerd
Dec 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
This was an excellent book. I grew up watching Dr. J when he played with the Sixers along with Mo Cheeks, Moses Malone, Bobby Jones, Andrew Toney, etc., so it was interesting to read his story from childhood to adulthood, through his basketball career and after his retirement. The book was so interesting and entertaining because I felt as though Dr. J. was being very honest and thorough with his life. He did not try to hide his mistakes or transgressions and he admitted when he did things wrong. ...more
Brian Cowlishaw
Mar 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
Call it 4.5/5 stars.
Two things really struck me in this book. 1) Dr. J doesn't use the word "compulsion," or the abbreviation OCD, but it sure sounds to me like he has it. That was pretty interesting. 2) The game in Dr. J's day really was different from today's game. Reading this book was an enjoyable extended stroll down Memory Lane; I realized how much I miss the old game and dislike the new one (which is more like rugby or padless football).
Nov 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
Pretty standard sports autobiography. Strange kind of stream-of-consciousness writing leads me to believe Mr. Irving wrote the thing mostly himself. Typical set up, childhood, practice, practice, practice, HOLY SHIT I'M GOOD AT THIS, best hair ever, striving to be the best, light behind the scenes dirt, words of wisdom, my life has been blessed, the end. Nothing earth shattering but a breezy read by one of the greatest ever. Not essential but worthwhile.
Oct 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
About as good as a biography can get. Closer to 4 1/2 stars.
Very captivating. Very candid. Holds your interest throughout. No down moments or lulls. Nothing long-winded.
Jun 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
A great story told through the experience of one of the true heroes of our age! It took a lot of courage and faith to live this life and to share it with the rest of us!

Thank You Julius!
Nov 28, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very good book

I'm a big fan of Dr J that's why I brought the book. it turn out to be a very good book.
Kurt Vosper
Nov 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So, I am sitting here having a break and a tea and thinking about this wonderful book that I finished last night. Dr. J was my intro into the world of basketball. It was a sport that my father, who I followed in all things, did not like (this was my first diversion from everything Dad said was always right). I learned about the Dr. first in Sports Illustrated and then when I started watching games on my little black and white TV in my room. It got my Dad to put up a hoop in my back yard for me a ...more
B.T. Hogan
May 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This might be the most engrossing autobiography I have ever had the pleasure of reading.

I fell in love with the NBA in the early 90's, by which time Dr. J was retired. Anything I saw/heard/read about the man was in context, I didn't live through his career. I never got to see his greatness as it happened. Basically, outside of the afro and smooth offensive prowess, I knew virtually nothing about Julius Winfield Erving II.

Erving's candor is astounding. He was no angel, and he clearly had no iss
Sep 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sports
The king of air details his rise ! This is a raw look into the life of Julius Erving.
I highly recommend the audiobook version.

This is a fascinating and compelling memoir compared to most Sports books. At some points the play by play of the game drags out too much, but for the most part this book is well done.
This book goes into detail on his childhood, college and career as an NBA star.

Here are a few random thoughts about this book in the spoiler
(view spoiler)
David Meyer
Nov 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Growing up as a Sixers fan, and the son of a man who calls Dr. J his favorite player of all time, I was very excited to read this, and the Dr. did not disappoint. He lived an interesting life. At times, some of the wording feels a bit forced, but where the book really shines is in it's incredible honesty. When reading an autobiography I tend to wonder what failures and embarrassments may have been left out. Here, the author seems to have no qualms spilling secrets and failures of his life. The r ...more
Jun 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Dr. J is one of the greatest basketball players of all time. He has always been one of my favorites. This book gave me a deeper insight on the man that is partly responsible for changing how the game is now played. At first I cringed when I heard him admit his faults. However; that cringe soon turned to respect for being transparent enough to admit his weaknesses and the lessons learned from those moments. I enjoyed the book, while not a masterpiece, it was certainly appreciated. I learned a con ...more
Trey Grayson
Mar 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Growing up, I loved watching Dr. J. — in the NBA playoffs, in the Fish That Saved Pittsburgh and in the video game Dr. J and and Larry Bird go one on one.

I really enjoyed learning about Dr. J’s youth and his time in the ABA, which predated my memories. I appreciated his candor about his marital and financial troubles and observations about the changing nature of professional basketball.

I especially recommend the audiobook because Dr. J is the narrator. He does a great job, and I will miss havi
Michael Stoudt
Mar 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is the autobiography of the great Dr. J, one of the greatest basketball players in history. It is an unvarnished look at his life with all the peaks and valleys of his life to this point. (The book was published in 2013.) He lays out his life with candor and grace that has defined him throughout his life. If you are a basketball fan, especially of the Philadelphia 76ers, I recommend this book.
Derek Neighbors
May 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Loved reading about the ABA an that era of basketball. Erving is very open and candid about his personal life as well as the ABA/NBA transition. His stories surrounding some of the greats of that era were a pleasure to hear told in first hand narrative. Makes me wish that more of the ABA was caught on film to go back and see some of the action. If you are a basketball fan this is a must read.
Oct 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-read
Dr J is a legendary name in the world of basketball. So when I happened upon this book in audio I decided to see what he would share about his life leading up to his fame along with the challenges he faced.

I appreciated his candor but most of all, I realize he's just a person like all the rest of us, most people know about his professional career, but it was interesting to know how he got there.
Samuel Lam
Sep 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very pleasurable read about his life and everything that he went through to become a basketball legend. He goes really in-depth on a lot of his personal stories as well.

I got to meet him at a book signing and it was also a pleasure to meet the legend.
Paul Hanson
Sep 21, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: sports
Dr J was my boyhood hero. Enjoyable review of his life. The book isn't as memorable as his moves on the court.
Elijah Brooks
Oct 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
good book but i recommend it for 13 and older
Jan 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
It's a nice inside look at a legendary player, who doesn't pull punches on mistakes he made along the way.
Gabriel Hamilton
Nov 23, 2017 rated it liked it
Very cool audio book. Wasn't moving or anything just insightful.
Oct 02, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a fan of the Philadelphia 76ers at the time when Dr. J played for the team, I was excited to receive this book in a First Reads giveaway. I have long admired Erving for his athletic abilities, as well as for his leadership off the basketball court.

With a previous understanding that he is not without personal flaws, I was very curious as to how complete this autobiography would be. In fact, Erving leaves out nothing. Not just a story of his professional accomplishments, the book also details h
Budd Bailey
Mar 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Julius Erving might be the last of the great unseen legends in sports history.

Yes, Erving's career with the Philadelphia 76ers is quite well known. There are videos of his performances with the Sixers, and he compiled enough credentials to be a Hall of Famer just on those years - NBA champion, league most valuable player, etc.

But that's not when Erving was really at his best. When he was playing in the American Basketball Association, it was easy to believe that a man - Dr. J, as he became known
Peter Kurtz
Mar 21, 2019 rated it liked it
The Doc was one of my sports heroes growing up. His talent, flamboyant playing style, and mystique (his legend just seemed to grow during his closeted ABA years) were irresistible ingredients to a wide-eyed sports-loving kid from the Midwest. Best of all, he was, and is, a decent man. I enjoyed reading about my hero, but unfortunately this book failed to rise above so many other predictable sports bios, where the kid from troubled or difficult circumstances rises to greatness, with a few knocks ...more
Mar 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
Audiobook. Wow! What a fantastic book! Dr. J left no skeleton unexposed in his book. What I most enjoyed about this book was how the author (the great Dr. J) came down to mortal level and shared the fact that, despite his fame, good fortune, and wealth (and access), dealt with the same problems that we all struggle with: love of family, death, failings, disappointment... I was especially touched by his struggling relationship with his sons - finding the balance between empowering and giving too ...more
P.e. lolo
Jan 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sports-biography
This book about Dr.J, Julius Erving, was an honest and insightful look back not only on his basketball career, but also as a parent, husband and brother. The story starts with him his mother, sister and younger brother. Living in an apartment in New Jersey and how the basketball court became the place where everyone played at. That over the course of time to continue to play you had to improve your game. He talks about countless hours of shooting, running, jumping and other things to improve him ...more
Isaiah Leonard
Feb 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing

Dr.J the autobiography is about Dr.J and his life and how his road to the NBA success life began. This autobiography was written by Karl Taro Greenfeld. Julius Erving was born in New York City born in 1950. He was raised by his mother and father until his father had a massive heart attack and passed away. Now Julius also known as june was the man of the house. After High School he attended UNiversity of Massachusetts. After College he entered the NBA and was one of the first NBA elite players w
Albert Eaddy
The book Dr. J was about the retired N.B.A player Julius Erving. Julius is one of the greatest N.B.A players of all time. When Julius was a child he grew up with brothers and sisters and he was the athletic one. At a young age Julius had broken his leg and the doctor said he would never be the same and wont be able to play spots again. He had to stay in the house and he use to look out the window and watch his friends play basketball. Julius believed he would be able to play again. Julius got h ...more
Cameron Craig-Williams
Nov 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sports
Dr. J: The biography is an interesting story on Julius "Dr.J" Erving. This book was enticing, not only was it interesting, but I couldn't really stop reading this book. Julius Erving, one of my favorite basketball players of all time, grew in the projects of New York, where he played basketball almost everyday. This book taught all the details from "Jules'" childhood. Julius mostly played basketball at the park, if not at the Salvation Army where he played for the travel before he got mature. So ...more
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Julius Winfield Erving II (born February 22, 1950), commonly known by the nickname Dr. J, is a retired American basketball player who helped launch a modern style of play that emphasizes leaping and play above the rim. Erving helped legitimize the American Basketball Association (ABA), and was the best-known player in that league when it merged with the National Basketball Association (NBA) after ...more
“I am an American man whose journey has been blessed by the great gifts that America offers—wealth, fame, championships, awards—and also scoured by the tragedies that are a part of the human experience. I have lost too many loved ones. I ask for no pity; I only want to relate what I have felt and seen. I have hurt too many people. For that I ask forgiveness. An American life, after all, is the sum of its parts, the successes and the failings, and mine has been rich with both.” 0 likes
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