‘Like He Was a Junior Version’: Julius Erving Reveals How He Was Once Better Than Michael Jordan

Published 03/10/2021, 4:00 PM EST
Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls during the 1997 McDonald’s Championship. (Photo by Dimitri Iundt/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)


The popular belief in the NBA community is that it was Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, or LeBron James who contributed most to the game of basketball. Although there is a lot of truth to that, there is one person missing from that list. Yes, that’s right! It’s Dr. J, or the legendary Julius Erving.

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In fact, at one point, even Irving was of the opinion that he was better than Jordan. However, as their careers progressed, he realized what the reality was.

Michael Jordan showed who’s the GOAT

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The world would call anybody who thought that they were better than Michael Jordan, crazy. Although when it comes from Julius Erving, it feels a little believable. Irving brought a different level of creativity into the NBA with his crazy moves. This set an example for the upcoming generations.

In a recent interview with Erving, he was asked if he ever thought he was better than MJ. Erving answered in all honesty. “In the beginning… It was interesting because when he came out of college, he, I, and Dominique Wilkins went to an event in Atlanta, Georgia.

“And it was a golf event, and we ended up getting in the gym and playing some basketball. So, I saw what he had, but I also knew what I had but I also knew what I had,” Dr. J said with confidence. “It was like he was a junior version. But as you know, time will tell and the story will be told…”

He further explained what makes him believe Jordan was better. “That’s a six-time champion and MVP. he certainly surpassed my accomplishments. Almost doubled in championships because I had three and three-runner ups.”

BOSTON, MA – 1977: Julius Erving #6 of the Philadelphia 76ers walks on to the court during a game against the Boston Celtics played circa 1977 at the Boston Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 1977 NBAE (Photo by Dick Raphael/NBAE via Getty Images)

Fair to measure success with championships only?

It is true that in terms of accolades, Jordan achieved far more than Erving. However, this is a never-ending debate in the NBA- if titles are all that measures a player’s success.

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This question erupts even when there is a GOAT debate about Michael Jordan and LeBron James. Well, that’s not how it should be. Although calling Jordan the greatest player to bless the court is an understatement, the only argument shouldn’t be about his championships.

Erving’s aerial prowess, his baselines reverse scoop, and all his decorated moves are iconic. Not to say that he was better than Jordan, but had an impact of his own on the league. What do you think?

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Read also- Michael Jordan vs Dominique Wilkins: Best Slam Dunk Contest in History

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Yashima Bhatia

1189 articles

Yashima Bhatia is an NBA writer for EssentiallySports who specialises in providing nuanced predictions and updates for matches. She has a Bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communication. Yashima's love for playing the game came up at a young age, when the excitement of the games coupled with the intensity of the Playoffs had her hooked.

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