Julius "Dr. J" Erving is one of the greatest players to ever play the game of basketball. He was the Michael Jordan before Michael Jordan, whose favorite player was Dr. J. AllClippers had the chance to exclusively interview Dr. J during the 9th Annual Cedric The Entertainer Celebrity Golf Classic, where he revealed his current favorite NBA player: Kawhi Leonard.
"Kawhi is my favorite NBA player," Erving said. "Absolutely."
Dr.J has mentioned in the past that he loved Kawhi Leonard's game, even going all the way back to his San Antonio days. Erving was a big fan of Tim Duncan, so naturally, he loves Kawhi Leonard's work ethic and demeanor. Despite being such a huge fan, Erving hasn't really had an intimate sit-down situation with Kawhi yet.
“I’ll tell you what, it’s kind of like a mutual admiration," Erving said. "I really admire him, I haven’t sat down or had dinner with him or lunch or anything like that. We connected All-Star weekend during the top 75 [celebration]. It’s always just a cordiality there because he’s a favorite guy that I like to watch in the NBA. So I’ve gone on record and saying that, I don’t know if he’s heard about it or not."
Every great NBA player has had an older superstar player become their mentor, teaching them how to improve their game. Julius Erving hasn't had that conversation with Kawhi Leonard yet, but it certainly sounds like he'd be open to being that figure for Kawhi.
"Bill Russell was that guy for me," Erving said. "He met me in college and he always extended a hand of friendship. Every time I was with him I was always picking his brain. How do you bridge between 30 and 40, how do you bridge between 40 and 50? How do you bridge between people so on and so forth? I think it would be a little bit the other way around. In him questioning me like that or pursuing that type of information, I would learn a whole lot about him naturally. How he processes."
While Dr. J still enjoys the game of basketball, he's been spending his free time enjoying his second love: golf. He's a frequent participant in Cedric The Entertainer Celebrity Golf Classic, and it's an event that feels like second nature to him.
"It never gets old," Erving said. "I’ve golfed for 30-plus years. I start playing golf in my 30s. I started out playing in pro-ams, then amateurs, then celebrity-sponsored events. It’s like I’ve always done this with my golf life."
It's hard to imagine seeing someone with the stature of Dr. J in a celebrity golf tournament, even with a comedy legend like Cedric The Entertainer hosting. It's something Cedric will always appreciate seeing.
"You see these guys and don’t even imagine them being your friends or being people that you can call to come out and support you," Cedric The Entertainer said. "Dr. J, Sugar Ray Leonard, Dave Justice is here, so many great athletes and stars are coming out to be a part of this. We’re really looking forward to what it means to come back and help, it’s just something for them to show up for me that feels extra special. I’m so happy they’re here."
One of the best parts of sports is the nature in which knowledge is passed on from one superstar to another. Michael Jordan taught Kobe Bryant everything he knew, Kobe Bryant passed his knowledge on to the current generation. Hopefully, Dr. J will get that chance to pass his knowledge onto his favorite NBA player.