The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on January 26, 1986 · Page 25
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 25

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Sunday, January 26, 1986
Page 25
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The Salina Journal Sunday, January 26,1986 Page 25 Erving still wrestling with retirement issue PHILADELPHIA (AP) - He said he'd have a decision by Christmas. Then he said he'd know by mid- January, after the Philadelphia 76ers returned from a West Coast trip. Now Julius Erving tells reporters, "You guys won't have to ask me about it. When I'm ready, I'll come to you." Erving, the Sixers' longtime cornerstone and Erving nine-time All-Star, is still battling the retirement issue. "I'm contracted for one more year," he said. "I don't know whether it will be my last or whether I'll be able to get another one in. "The way things are going right now," he adds, "there is cause for optimism. But a decision has not been reached yet." The Doctor, who turns 36 on Feb. 22, started talking about retirement last season, then sealed a $1.4 million deal for one more year. It's not surprising he's considering leaving behind the game's incessant physical punishment, the pressure of maintaining a stellar image, and the wearying travel of a National Basketball Association player. He's endured it for 15 years. But his main reason for wanting to walk is unusual: Erving wants to find his roots. "My wife and I would like to trace the various branches of our families, nationally and internationally. We not only want to go back, but look three generations ahead," he said during a recent interview. If he retires, he reasons, "I'll have more time and energy to devote to such things. I genuinely feel that there are certain things that I'm in a position to do that will have an affect on future generations of my family. Future generations of people, period. "It's something I yearn to do. It's something inside of me that says this is important. It might be more important than basketball," he said. "At some point in time, it certainly will be more important, and possibly more gratifying. That's one of the main things I'll do when I'm no longer a player." He's already started his research. "We've gone .back to 1837 in my family history. The next challenge I feel, since I've gone 150 years backwards, is to try and go 150 years forward and see where that leads us," he said. Despite that desire, the 6-foot-6 Erving can't easily shake what has been the focus of his life — basketball. Age, of course, has robbed him of some skills, but he's still one of the best players in the NBA and the game's third highest all-time scoring leader behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Wilt Chamberlain. He still scores, rebounds, steals, defends and occasionally flashes one of his man-on-a-flying-trapeze maneuvers. Above all, he's still a leader, the guy 6-10 Moses Malone and the other 76ers look up to. His team contributions, meanwhile, are increasing rather than decreasing. With an 18.2 points-per-game average, Erving now divides his time between the front and backcourt, lessening the physical wear and tear, He says he likes the challenge of the backcourt. "I wouldn't say it was necessarily less strenuous. I probably can set myself up a little better to avoid injuries because I can play facing the basket. "You don't have guys coming from the blind side as much ... and, obviously, I'm bigger than most of the players I'm matched with," he said. "I feel very comfortable back there." Erving said if he decides to stay and is asked to contribute as a sixth man, he'd consider it. "I don't know whether I'd want to accept that unless it was clearly decided that the guys playing in front of me were better and this was what was best for the team. And also, that this was good for me," he said. When he decides that retirement is good for him, Erving is certain of one thing: "I'll go out in a winning situation when I'll still be a valuable player who has a lot of responsibility. "I was a good player when I came in. I want to be a good player when I leave," said Erving, who broke into the pros with the old American Basketball Association in 1971. "I don't want to be a guy just sitting down on the end of the bench and collecting a pay check. I'm not that right now. That would be a tough role for me because I'm a mover and shaker. I'm an achiever. "When I'm working and when I'm functioning it's a totally giving experience and I can't give sitting down just watching others do what I used to do." What if he decides to stay on and the 76ers prefer he retire? "If I want to play and I'm not wanted... I might even explore going somewhere else," Erving said. Meantime, team owner Harold Katz says he wants whatever is best for Doc. "He's a class person. It's most important how Doc is remembered. Whatever makes him comfortable, I'm comfortable. He has a great spiritual affect on the team.'' * Mid America Inn Restaurant * "SUPER * J SUNDAY SPECIAL" I 2 piece Fried Chicken Dinner, choice of potato, tossed salad, roll and FREE SUNDAE (Make your own). 5p.m. 'till 10p.m. 1842 N. 9th Salina, KS 'Magic' heads all-star selections Johnson NEW YORK (AP) - Earvin "Magic" Johnson, a perennial All- Star guard for the Los Angeles Lakers, led all National Basketball Association players in fan voting for the 1986 Lite-NBA All-Star Game, becoming the first ever to be named on more than one million ballots. Johnson, who leads the NBA in assists, averaging more than 13 per game, drew 1,060,892 votes, breaking the record of 957,447 he set a year ago. Joining Johnson on the starting team for the Western Conference in the game on Feb. 9 at Reunion Arena in Dallas will be Laker teammates Kareem Abdul- Jabbar at center and forward James Worthy, as well as forward Ralph Sampson of the Houston Rockets and guard Alvin Robertson of the San Antonio Spurs. Starting in the 36th annual All-Star Game for the Eastern Conference will be forwards Larry Bird of the Boston Celtics and Julius Erving of the Philadelphia 76ers, center Moses Malone of Philadelphia and guards Isiah Thomas of the Detroit Pistons and Sidney Moncrief of the Milwaukee Bucks. Guard Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls was the top vote-getter among Eastern Conference players, but will give up his starting spot to Moncrief because of a broken foot that has kept him out of action since the third game of the season. The results of this year's voting were released Saturday by the NBA. A total of 3,017,794 ballots were cast in a 2 Mi-month period ending January 16. That broke the old mark of 2,852,996 set in 1985. The remaining members of the All- Star teams will be selected by a vote of all the coaches in each conference. Those players will be announced in the next few days. Pat Riley, who directs the Lakers, will coach the West, while K.C. Jones of Boston will coach the East. Abdul-Jabbar will be making a record 15th appearance and starting his 12th All-Star Game. Erving holds the longest string of consecutive starts with 10. He also appeared in five American Basketball Association All-Star Games, starting four of them, before what was left of that folding league was absorbed into the NBA. Worthy and Robertson both made the team for the first time. Jordan was second to Johnson with 719,143 votes, followed by Bird with 702,440, Abdul-Jabbar 666,826, Thomas 666,013 and Malone 615,089. Erving polled 596,875 votes, while Sampson got 516,087, Worthy 461,528, Moncrief 503,105 and Robertson 378,557. The closest races were among the West forwards and guards, with Alex English of the Denver Nuggets trailing Sampson, the 1985 All-Star Game Most Valuable Player, and Worthy at 410,112, and Johnny Moore of San Antonio winding up at 348,752, just 29,805 behind teammate Robertson. The East holds a 23-12 advantage in the series, but the West won the 1985 All-Star Game 140-129 behind Sampson's 24-point, 10-rebound performance. Learn how^you can build your own home • with no down payment and low monthly payments during construction. • with quality, pre-cut materials and step-by-step instructions. • without a fully paid for lot in most cases. COME TO THE FREE SEMINAR—NO SELLING Thursday, Jan. 30 7:00 pm Red Coach West Regency II Salina, Kansas For Reservations 913-263-2121 Rent No More! Call Now For Reservations! Homes ,TM A Member Of Homes International" Group Insllco Corporation NOW IS THE TIME TO ADD A BEAUTIFUL FOUR SEASONS" ROOM TO YOUR HOME. 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