Julius Erving Net Worth: Julius Erving is a retired American basketball player and current entrepreneur who has a net worth of $50 million. Julius Erving, also known as “Dr J”, earned fame and fortune playing in the NBA where he pioneered the modern style of leaping, “slam dunk” play above above the rim. After the NBA he launched a highly successful business and endorsement career.
He was born Julius Winfield Erving II on February 22, 1950, in Nassau County, New York. A high school and college basketball star, Erving got his nickname “The Doctor” and “Dr. J” thanks to his flamboyance and skill on the court. After two successful varsity college basketball seasons, he left college to play in the now-defunct American Basketball Association (ABA). He joined the league in 1971 as an undrafted free agent with the Virginia Squires. After he spent five years with the ABA, he joined the NBA where he stayed for another prolific 11 years with the Philadelphia 76ers.
With Erving the 76ers won the 1983 NBA championship. He retired from the sport in 1987 with 30,026 career points in both leagues, ranking third on the all-time scoring list. A remarkable leaper, he was one of the first key practitioners of the move later exemplified by Michael Jordan. After he left the court, Julius Erving went on to become a successful business executive, TV sport analyst and executive with the Orlando Magic.
Business Ventures and Endorsements: In 1976, upon the merger of the ABA and the NBA, Julius signed what is believed to be the first basketball shoe endorsement contract. The contract paid a then-unprecedented $20,000 per year. After adjusting for inflation, that’s the same as $90,000 per year today. By the mid-1980s he was earning $100,000 per year from Converse, the same as $250,000 per year today. This actually became important when Michael Jordan was a soon-to-be NBA rookie in 1984. Jordan had won Converse all through college and UNC and wanted to continue wearing them in the pros. According to legend, Converse passed on Michael because he was demanding more than what Dr. J and Larry Bird were making at the time. Converse wanted Jordan, but they wouldn’t have been able to explain to Bird and Erving that this new unknown rookie was suddenly making more than them OR that they were getting raises to equal this new rookie.
Speaking of Dr. J and Larry Bird, in 1983 the duo licensed their names and likenesses to Electronic Arts to make the video game “Dr. J vs Larry Bird”. EA offered the pair $25,000 cash or 20,000 shares of stock options with a $1 purchase price. Bird took the cash (worth the same as $65,000 today). Erving took the options. EA went public in 1989. By the mid-1990s, the shares were worth millions.
Upon retiring from the NBA, Julius invested in a Philadelphia bottling plant. He was the majority owner in this business for twenty years.
In 2016 Julius sold the lifetime rights to the name “Dr. J” to Authentic Brands Group (ABG). As part of the deal he received an upfront buyout plus annual set royalties. ABG owns the likeness and name rights to many celebrities, notably dead ones like Elvis, Marilyn Monroe and Muhammad Ali.