By Ray Boyd

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — October 20th, 1976 is a day that forever changed the fortunes of the Philadelphia 76ers. That was the day the Doctor moved his practice to South Philadelphia.

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Julius Erving was the premiere player on the New York Nets. The Nets were one of four ABA teams that were going to complete the ABA/NBA merger. Each team was required to pay an entry fee to join the NBA, but the Nets had to pay extra.

The team was required to pay nearly $5 million to the New York Knicks for territory rights. Since they couldn’t afford the price tag, they were backed into a corner and had to let go of their best player.

The Nets loss was the Sixers gain. The Sixers gave up a total of $6 million to take Erving from the Nets and to sign him to a deal. That move not only gave the Sixers a great player. It gave the team a player that would ultimately define what a superstar was in that period of time and a player that would forever influence the way some of the games’ greats would play after him.

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Players like Michael Jordan, Dominique Wilkins and Vince Carter have attributed parts of their games to Julius Erving. He brought a distinct level of “cool,” to the game of basketball that could only be summed up in the way he could cup a basketball and glide through the air with amazing ease.

Erving lead the Sixers to the playoffs every season he spent with the team and helped to bring home a championship in 1982-83.

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