Now Doc's Image Is Jumping

Posted: June 19, 1987

Julius Erving has said, "That's always been important to me, to shake the image of being a jock."

In the six weeks since Dr. J. took off his high-tops for the last time, there's been a whole lot of shaking going on.

Less than a week after Erving played his last game against the Milwaukee Bucks, Gov. Casey put him on the state Economic Development Partnership Board, which is intended to replace the state Commerce Department. Erving the businessman is part owner of Philadelphia Coca-Cola Bottling Co., which placed fourth among the nation's top black-owned businesses last year with $110 million in sales, as well as part owner of a Buffalo, N.Y., television station.

Casey later named him to a task force investigating the state's job- training programs.

Erving also has been on the radio - in his role as general chairman for the William Penn Restoration Committee - urging people to get up the bucks so that there can be a nattier Billy Penn atop City Hall. The statue, draped in scaffolding for the past two years, is undergoing restoration.

This month Erving emerged as an entertainment producer, with Dr. J Productions listed as co-promoter for the controversial Paul Simon ''Graceland" tour this week at the Spectrum.

And now Erving has joined the Fairmount Park Commission, considered by many to be the most prestigious and most powerful of the city's citizen agencies.

The former skywalker is in the company of well-connected people just like

himself: multi-millionaires, philanthropists. There's another doctor on the

commission - Dr. June H. Brown, an educator - and someone else who spent time on the bench - former Judge Herbert S. Levin.

There's even another former basketball heavyweight - commission president F. Eugene Dixon Jr., who bought the 76ers in 1976 and promptly bought Julius Erving to go with them.

Dixon didn't even know who Erving was at the time, though. Told Dr. J was ''the Babe Ruth of basketball," Dixon then plunked down $6 million for the then-New York Net.

This time, Erving is going to associate with Dixon for free.

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