The Doctor Is In! Top 10 Julius Erving Cards

The Doctor Is In! Top 10 Julius Erving Cards

Julius Erving was an athlete that was clearly ahead of his time. He brought a flair and athletic ability that was largely nonexistent in 1970's basketball and was one of the biggest stars during his career. Known to most as Dr. J, Erving helped carry the game into the modern era and transformed the sport with his many highlight reel plays. Despite being one of the top players in NBA history, most Julius Erving cards remain reasonably priced.

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Although he only spent two seasons playing college basketball, Julius Erving was an unstoppable force at the University of Massachusetts. He left school early, but due to the state of professional basketball, Erving elected to sign with the Virginia Squires of the ABA League, instead of joining the NBA. The Squires would eventually trade their star player to the New York Nets in 1973. Erving would lead his new team to the ABA Title twice, and remained a member of the franchise until the NBA-ABA merger in 1975. While the Nets were one of the ABA teams that made the jump to the NBA, financial implications resulted in the team shipping Erving to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for compensation.

The merger finally brought together the talent from the competing leagues, and Julius Erving emerged as one of the best players in the NBA. With Erving on the court, the Philadelphia 76ers were consistently a top team. Despite regular playoff appearances, the 76ers would not claim their first title until Moses Malone joined the team during the 1982-83 season. Erving would retire following the 1986-87 season and was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1993. He totaled 11 NBA All-Star appearances and an NBA MVP season in 1981-82. Also, Erving was named to the NBA's 35th and 50th Anniversary teams. On top of that, even at 63, some of his ability remains and Erving can still dunk.

Despite all he did and his relevance to the game, most Julius Erving cards from his playing days are not going to break the bank. Among his modern cards, Julius Erving autographs bring the most value and he has signed plenty for Upper Deck since 2000 and was heavily featured in 2012-13 Panini products.

The following list documents ten of the best Julius Erving cards available today. While value is important, the list centers more around the original releases from his playing days, rather than the many low-numbered and rare modern autographs. See any that we missed? Let us know in the comments.

Top 10 Julius Erving Cards

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10. 1977-78 Topps Julius Erving #100

First on the list, 1977-78 Topps Basketball brings a colorful, yet still low-key Julius Erving card. The card notes Erving as an All-Star and features an image of the star as he takes a breather on the bench.

1977 78 Topps Julius Erving 100 215x300 Image

9. 1986-87 Fleer Sticker Julius Erving #5

Although he came well before the insert craze, Julius Irving does have one that makes the list. Falling one per wax pack, 1986-87 Fleer Stickers add an interesting option for collectors. This simple sticker card showcases an older Erving in one of his last cards before he retired.

9. 1986 87 Fleer Sticker Julius Erving 5  211x300 Image

8. 1975-76 Topps Julius Erving #300

Fews cards managed to perfectly encompass basketball in the 1970's like 1975-76 Topps Basketball. A large action image paints a clear picture as Erving goes to the basket, while a bright pink team font and text box add vivid colors. Rounding out the cards, "Julius Erving" is highlighted using yellow text and a diagonal stripe with five stars occupies the top corner of the card.

1975 76 Topps Julius Erving 300 213x300 Image

7. 1978-79 Topps Julius Erving #130

Although the design is not nearly as clean as the 1975-76 card, Erving's 1978-79 Topps Basketball card is another appealing option. Dual images clutter the card but the smaller photo gives collectors a great shot of his large afro.

1978 79 Topps Julius Erving 130 212x300 Image

6. 1973-74 Topps Julius Erving #240

As his second major release, 1973-74 Topps Basketball brings collectors one of his earliest cards. This Julius Erving card has a lot going on. The moving ball results in a blurry image and the black background has a weird effect on Erving's hair. Additionally, a small headshot of Erving is included in the corner, making for a rather bizarre card.

1973 74 Topps Julius Erving 240  212x300 Image

5. 1986-87 Fleer Julius Erving #3

Rounding out his career, 1986-87 Fleer Basketball arrived just-in-time to send Julius Erving off to retirement in style. The iconic card design is combined with a intense facial expression from Erving as he goes up for a dunk.

1986 87 Fleer Julius Erving 3 209x300 Image

4. 2012-13 Upper Deck All-Time Greats Jordan Vs. Julius Irving #JV13 Autograph #/23

One of several options that pair the two greats, 2012-13 Upper Deck All-Time Greats brings on-signatures from Erving and Michael Jordan on the same card. This black-and-white card is hand-numbered to 23 and features gold ink.

2013 Upper Deck All Time Greats Jordan Vs. Julis Irving JV13 Autograph 23 Image

3. 2012-13 Panini Flawless Greats Julius Irving #3 Autographed Jersey

Another recent autographed card for Julius Erving, the high-end options in 2012-13 Panini Flawless Basketball have proven to be very popular. This is especially true for autographed patch cards like the Greats insert. With a Hall of Fame player of Julius Erving's magnitude, almost any autograph from the former great would make a great addition to a card collection.

2012 13 Panini Flawless Greats Julius Irving 3 Autographed Jersey  Image

2. 1980-81 Topps Julius Erving, Magic Johnson RC, Larry Bird RC #6

While it is true that Julius Erving is the third wheel on this 1980-81 Topps Basketball card, it is unlikely that the card would be as highly valued if the middle spot was occupied by some average player or no-name rookie. Most collectors know that this was the rookie card for both Larry Bird and Magic Johnson, but it is easily the most valuable and sought-after Julius Erving card.

1980 81 Topps Basketball Larry Bird Julius Irving and Magic Johnson Image

1. 1972-73 Topps Julius Erving RC #195

Although the Hall of Fame trio above trumps Erving's own rookie card in value, this terrific card from 1972-73 Topps Basketball is deserving of the top spot. The clean look, classic design, and vivd colors make for one of the top rookie cards of all-time.

1972 73 Topps Julius Erving RC 212x300 Image

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Topps Julius Erving (DR.J) 30 59 104 Shawn Kemp Hoops Rookie
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1983-84 Star #18 Sixers Champs Julius Erving SSA 10 Gem Mint
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1983-84 Star #22 Sixers Champs Julius Erving SSA 1 0 Gem Mint
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1983-84 Star #24 Sixers Champs Julius Erving SSA 10 Gem Mint
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Julius Erving 2011-12 Upper Deck UD All Time Greats 108 3 5 UMass
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Julius Erving 2011-12 Upper Deck UD All Time Greats 105 2 5 UMass
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Julius Erving 2011-12 Upper Deck UD All Time Greats 106 2 5 UMass
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Julius Erving DrJ Sixers 2003 Upper Deck Black Diamond parallel card 176 082 100
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Julius Erving UD Exquisite Patch Auto 25
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1975 Topps # 282 Julius Erving - Team Leaders - HOF - EX+ - additional ship free
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1986 Fleer Basketball #31 Julius Erving Dr. J PSA 7 Near MINT Philadelphia 76ers
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Julius Erving & Darryl Dawkins 04-05 UD SP Auto Signed
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Trey Treutel

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Trey Treutel is an Ole Miss grad and a lifelong sports fanatic. He is a huge fan of the NBA and NFL, as well as soccer, college basketball and college football. As a kid, he collected football and basketball cards. As an adult, he started collecting basketball cards again on a whim, and has since expanded to other sports and entertainment options. Find Trey on Twitter at @datreute.

User Comments

  1. Nice list…although I have often wondered if Topps realized he actually played ON the court in 76 and 77? Bench photos on both of those years??? Imagine them showing a dunk or going up with a finger roll!

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