Vintage photo: Dr. J as a Hawk

In my myriad travels across the Internet, I’ve never actually seen pictures of Julius Erving’s magical time with the Atlanta Hawks. Sure, I’ve heard the stories, and even watched this video hoping to catch a glimpse of Dr. J playing with Pete Maravich. Nothing. Except this grainy image of him looking like an Eddie Murphy character. Hardly impressive.

But now, Topps has busted out a negative they used to make a card for Dr. Jay way back in 1972 and put it on eBay. It’s not much — just another Afro’d guy in short shorts and Chuck Taylors — but it’s still pretty awesome. It’s full-color proof that the NBA was this close to having two of its greatest showmen ever on the same team, and not just for exhibition games. I wasn’t born for another 12 years after this picture was taken and it’s still exciting.

So yeah, Dr. J really was a Hawk, at least long enough to get his picture taken for a trading card. All we need now is for someone somewhere to upload some of those game tapes to YouTube. They have to exist.

(via Fleer Sticker/289)