CAMDEN, N.J. -- Julius Erving stood underneath the Sixers' championship banners hanging above the practice court. The Hall of Famer has experienced winning in Philadelphia and is eager for his former team to bring it back to the city.
“I think we should make a good run at the playoffs,” Erving said. “There’s enough young talent on the team and the system is good enough, it’s proven itself, that, if we can keep a healthy team out there, then we should be able to make a run at the playoffs.”
Erving is in town for the Julius Erving Golf Classic, a three-day event supporting the Salvation Army of Greater Philadelphia. On Saturday he hosted the Erving Youth Basketball Experience at the Sixers training complex.
Markelle Fultz made a special appearance and Erving got to spend some time with the No. 1 pick.
“I think he’ll have an understated type of leadership because I don’t know whether he’s a verbal leader or whether he’s a lead-by-example type guy,” Erving said of Fultz. “Either way, he’s a significant piece to the puzzle.”
Another key piece is Joel Embiid, whose name drew an enthusiastic response from the crowd of children while Erving held a Q&A. Erving referred to watching Embiid play last season as “a welcome sight.”
“Having had conversations with Coach (Brett) Brown, he had such high expectations of Joel,” Erving said. “From a skill standpoint, he knew he was as as skilled as any big man in the league. Now it’s just a matter of maturity and confidence, and Joel seems to be very confident.”
Erving pulls for the Sixers from afar. He tries to catch their games when they are in Atlanta, where he resides, and if his travel schedule overlaps with their road games in other cities.
“I’m ready,” Erving said of a turnaround. “We want to have a team that’s a contender for the title.”