Erving was also instrumental in bringing legitimacy to the now-defunct American Basketball Association. He was named to the NBA's 50th Anniversary All-Time team.
Born in East Meadow, New York, Erving played college ball at the University of Massachusetts, where he was one of only six players in NCAA history to average more than 20 points and 20 rebounds per game.
He signed with the fledgling ABA in 1971, and played with the Virginia Squires from 1971-73 and the New York Nets from 1973-76. He then moved to the NBA, where he played with the Philadelphia 76ers until his retirement in 1987. He was named the NBA MVP in 1981, and led the 76ers to the NBA championship in 1983.
When he retired, Erving ranked in the top 10 in scoring (third), most field goals made (third), most field goals attempted (fifth) and most steals (first). On the combined NBA/ABA scoring list, Erving ranked third with 30,026 points.