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Wednesday, November 19, 2003
Dr. J is center of attention, earns MVP award
By Larry Schwartz
Special to ESPN.com
May 27, 1981
Julius Erving, the Philadelphia 76ers' high-flying forward, becomes the first non-center to win the MVP award in 17 years. The 31-year-old Dr. J averaged 24.6 points, eight rebounds and 4.4 assists in leading the 76ers to a 62-20 record, tied with the Boston Celtics for the best in the NBA.
"He was alive again this season," says Kevin Loughery, the new coach of the Atlanta Hawks. "He was the Dr. J of old, the one I saw and coached in the old ABA. He was a lot wiser, sometimes less flamboyant, but awesome again."
Erving won three MVPs in the ABA (1974-76), including sharing one with George McGinnis. In winning his only MVP in the NBA, Erving beats out Boston's second-year forward, Larry Bird, 454-423, in balloting by 69 writers and broadcasters. Dr. J receives 28 first-place votes, Bird 20.
The last non-center to win the award in the NBA was Cincinnati Royals guard Oscar Robertson in 1964.
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