Erving debuted in the 1971/72 season with the Virginia Squires of the American Basketball Association as he was able to play professionally a year early to the league’s hardship rule. He would immediately light up the league and as a sophomore he would win the ABA scoring title. Sadly, for the Squires, like many teams in the ABA they were having financial issues and a trade was engineered sending Erving to the New York Nets, who would later become the Brooklyn Nets.
The man we know as “Dr. J” was already an excellent player but he took it to another level in New York where in the 1973/74 season where he was the league MVP, won the scoring title and took New York to the ABA Championship. The following season was great again, but in 1975/76 he repeated his first season trifecta with the scoring title, ABA Championship and MVP.
Following this, the ABA folded with four teams (including New York) joined the National Basketball Association, and the New York Knicks demanded (and received) a lump sum over 4 million for having the soon to be Nets “invade” their territory. This caused issues for New York to pay Erving the raise they promised him and while they got into the NBA they were forced to trade their star player, which they shipped to Philadelphia. Years later Erving would take the 76ers to the NBA Championship, which has to remain a thorn in the side of Nets fans old enough to remember.Erving was an All Star EVERY year he played professionally and he would enter the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 1993.