Documentary on Julius Erving, aka “Dr. J” Premieres On NBA TV

julius erving1

(Via our partner

The NBA TV documentary “The Doctor” debuts tonight at 9 p.m. Eastern, reintroducing the player who changed the style, image and direction of pro basketball to a new audience.

With breathtaking footage of Erving on the court at Roosevelt High School and the Rucker — people sitting on rooftops and tree limbs and nearby bridges just to get a glimpse of the Doctor — the documentary breathes new life into his legend. But for Erving, this is a personal story, too — a journey of loss he shares in ways he’s rarely, if ever, done before.

Erving lost his 16-year-old brother, Marvin, to Lupus when he was 19. Tragedy struck again when Erving’s 19-year-old son, Cory, disappeared and was later found dead after accidentally driving into a lake near the family’s Florida home in 2000.

“Everybody who I’ve lost still travels with me everywhere I go,” Erving said.

Speaking with recently during the Eastern Conference finals, 13 years to the day after the last time he saw his son alive, Erving said it was important to finally open up about the tragedies of his life.

“That’s where my humility comes from, the fact that I’ve always felt powerless in terms of winning the ultimate test — the ultimate test, life or death,” Erving said. “I feel powerless, and so games didn’t have the same meaning for me that they had for so many other people. I could walk away from a game and if I’d done my best; it’s acceptable. … My mission has always been a higher mission.”