10 basketball nuggets I learned from "Dr. J: The Autobiography"

Here are 10 "windows" on the life of basketball Hall of Famer Julius Erving from gleaned from "Dr. J: The Autobiography," written with Karl Taro.

2. Why UMass

Julius Erving, star forward for the New York Nets, poses prior to a game against the Virginia Squires in Uniondale, NY, on April 8, 1974.

Erving grew up in Hempstead, N.Y., on Long Island, in a close-knit, single-parent family. He wasn’t heavily recruited, but St. John’s University, in the New York borough of Queens, was interested, and when he called St. John’s coach Lou Carnesecca to tell him of his decision to attend the University of Massachusetts instead, Erving cried since it meant leaving home. But he found that UMass matched up with his idea of a college with a “proper campus and proper-looking buildings and dormitories.” Nobody from UMass had ever played in the NBA, but Erving says he never wanted to be a jock. He was thinking education and had his sights set on getting a business degree. Although he left school early he took UMass courses throughout his NBA career, spent time in libraries around the country, and finally earned a degree.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

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The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

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