Julius Erving’s Hall of Fame career included stints with the Nets and 76ers. Both franchises eventually retired his number, though his allegiance is stronger with one than the other.
The 71-year-old legend made an appearance recently on 76ers guard Danny Green’s podcast, Inside the Green Room, and gave Philly the edge over the Brooklyn Nets this season. Entering Saturday, the Nets led the 76ers by a single game for first place in the Eastern Conference.
“I’m always going to pull for them (the Nets) to do well,” Erving said, “but I don’t pull for any of them (teams that once belonged to the ABA) to do well against my Sixers.”
With that in mind, perhaps it wasn’t surprising to hear Erving pick the 76ers over the Nets. What was surprising, though, was how much he scorned his former Nets team for the way they’ve sculpted their roster.
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Erving Drops Hammer on Nets
The Nets have six players who have made at least one All-Star Game appearance, and a whopping 41 All-Star Game appearances total between that group. That number got a significant boost last month with Brooklyn’s additions of Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge after each had secured a buyout with their former teams.
In that vein, Erving sees a lot of the New York Yankees in these Nets.
“It’s reminiscent of how the Yankees used to do it all the time,” Erving said. “They’d load up, man. They called it buying a championship. Lakers are known for doing that, too. They just try to buy a championship, man. They’re getting all these pieces. They don’t know at the end of the season what it’s going to look like or what it’s going to feel like, but they’re going to be formidable to anyone. When you got a team with six former All-Stars and several All-Pro guys, three guys at least who have been All-Pro, and who have been there and succeeded in the playoffs, then that’s quite a challenge.”
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76ers Over Nets? Erving Thinks So
The Nets are a popular favorite in the East for a ton of compelling reasons. But the 76ers have even more, according to Erving.
“First of all, we have an advantage coaching-wise based on experience with Doc (Rivers),” Erving said. “In terms of the championship experience that you (Danny Green) and Dwight (Howard) has. And then the ambition of Ben (Simmons) and Joel (Embiid), these guys are hungry now. These guys have been projected and they’ve been a part of what they call the process for several years. Well, it’s time for the process to bear some fruit.
“I’m betting my money on Philly and I think that the confidence that the team has from playing the type of the season that you’ve had, Danny. You guys have been incredible just in terms of having a better record then last year at the same time and not having Joel for a lot of those games and not having Seth Curry for a lot of the games.”