My Good Friend…Julius Erving


On Fridays I am going to share a memory about a friend. A personal friend who has blessed me and made an impression on my life or a “friend” I have met…meaning a famous person. (I recognize that most people are fairly fascinated by famous people and since I have had the opportunity to meet a few of them here and there I figure you’d get a kick out of hearing about it.)

For grins…I’ll start with one of the famous people I have met.

Several years ago, “bk” (before kids”) my husband and I lived in Philadelphia. He used to go over to Villanova to play pick up basketball and I would run around the track that circled the gym floor. There were two young boys that always wanted to play ball, but most of the guys in the gym were not interested in letting them play. My husband, on the other hand, always let them be on his team. This went on for several weeks. Well, one day the boys father came to the gym to play some basketball with all the fellas that gathered there.

Imagine every one’s shock when in walked daddy…otherwise known to the world as Dr. J! Let me tell you he is one tall man and definitely commands attention when he walks in a room…uh gym…and though retired, he was still an amazing athlete. They began to chose teams and obviously his sons had no problem finding someone to play with on this day. Because my husband was the tallest guy there he was the opposing player to Dr. J. That was one day on the basketball court my husband will never forget and yes Dr. J was more than gracious because he could have wiped the floor up with my dear sweet hubby!

I had finished my run and was stretching while watching the play from the sidelines, sitting all alone on the far side of the gym. As the game finished up lots of the players were sort of bugging Dr. J and wanting his attention. I guess he got tired of the unwanted attention and walked all the way over to where I was to get away from the clamouring crowd. He stuck out his hand and introduced himself and I’ve got to tell you that was the biggest hand I had ever seen…his hand enveloped mine and I felt like a four year old looking up at him.

My new friend Dr. J was very kind, talked to me a little bit, realized which player my husband was and mentioned that “he had game.” (Which was a gift that to this day makes my hubby smile!) I complimented him on what fine young men he was raising and told him that they had been very well behaved the last few weeks and that he and his wife should be proud.

Years later one of his sons died tragically and I couldn’t help but wonder how my friend Dr. J was faring and I wanted to reach out to him in some way. I realized that maybe, just maybe the reason he was my friend is that God knew he was in need of prayer and that was something I could do for him.

Praying for a friend is privilege…even the famous friends in our lives. What friend could you stop and pray for right now?


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