Julius Erving believes Kareem deserved more respect, says Kawhi Leonard reminds him of himself
During his era in the NBA, Hall of Famer Julius Erving played with and against some of the greatest players in league history. From the Showtime Los Angeles Lakers led by Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to Larry Bird’s iconic Boston Celtics.
Ahead of Erving’s Golf Classic, which is set to take place in Philadelphia Sept. 9-11, the NBA legend spoke to ClutchPoints about his annual event as well as quite few NBA topics. One of these topics was which player he felt that during his era didn’t get the recognition and respect he deserved.
“Kareem,” Erving said. “Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.”
Along with dubbing Kareem the player that deserved respect and didn’t get enough of it back in the day, we also asked the former Philadelphia 76ers superstar which player in the league today reminds him the most of himself.
“Probably San Antonio’s best player, Kawhi Leonard. I think Kawhi,” Erving told ClutchPoints. “I think the way I’ve seen him evolve and just knowing my game. One, the different things I was asked to do at different times. I think I was like a coach’s player. Coach said, ‘Go guard this guard.’ I’m going to go guard that guy. Facilitate the ball. Get people involved. Score 50. I’m gonna score 50, and I think he’s that type of guy.”
Kawhi Leonard is arguably in the conversation for the best two-way player in the NBA today. The San Antonio Spurs star was handed the torch by the recently retired Tim Duncan and has even convinced quite possibly the best head coach in the game in Gregg Popovich to extend his Hall-of-Fame-caliber career.
Erving also praised a New York Knicks legend. The 67-year-old paid homage to the scoring machine, Bernard King.
“Bernard King was the toughest to guard. That’s the worst one-on-one matchup that a forward can have because, not his whole career, but when he played for Hubie Brown, he said, ‘my guys are shooting 45 percent from the field, and Bernard is shooting 55 percent,’ he wanted him to have the ball every play [laughs].”
King was an elite scorer during his stint with the Knicks and apparently gave Erving and others fits during that era of basketball.
To see Erving’s thoughts on the current state of the Sixers, Ben Simmons’ potential, and his upcoming Golf Classic, click here.