Today in Sports History: April 17

On this day In 1987, Julius Erving became the third NBA player to score 30,000 points. Erving achieved the historic milestone scoring 38 points in a 111-115 loss to the Indiana Pacers. The legendary small forward was one of the most influential players of his era, especially due to the large role he played in legitimizing the American Basketball Association prior to its merger with the NBA. Erving was known for his complete skill set and signature slam dunk, over Erving’s 16-year career none of his teams ever missed the postseason. In Erving’s five ABA seasons, he played for the Virginia Squires and the New York Nets (now the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets). During that time he secured three scoring titles, won three MVP awards, and two championship titles with the Nets in 1974 and 1976. 

Later in 1976, Erving would join the Philadelphia 76ers and spend his entire 11-year NBA career with the same team. A five-time member of the All-NBA First Team, Erving was the NBA MVP in 1981 and was named as an All-Star all eleven seasons. Perhaps his greatest NBA achievement was leading the 76ers to the third and most recent championship to date in the 1983 finals. The combination of Moses Malone and Erving helped them dominate the opponents. The 76ers won the first series 4-0 against the Knicks, the second series 5-0 against the Milwaukee Bucks, and swept the Lakers in the finals. Erving maintained a high level of play throughout his entire sixteen-year professional basketball career and maintained a career average of 24.2 points, 8.5 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 2 steals, and 1.7 blocks. Erving, who is the only player to be named both ABA and NBA MVP,  was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1993. 

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