Nov. 17, 1984: Forget-him-not! Dr. J takes rookie MJ to school; Moses Malone skips school, dominates; rookie Charles Barkley dunks on MJ then forgets how to play basketball. It was Michael Jordan's 11th game and his first chance to go against the player he once tried to emulate, Julius Erving, a superstar 13 years his senior. Jordan was 21, having left college early for the pros after completing his 3rd year at UNC in the Spring. In an era before one-and-dones, Erving beat MJ by a year, having left UMass in '71 after only 2 years, averaging an insane 20pts-20rebs. Moses Malone beat both of them, going pro right out of highschool. Erving and Malone, both former ABA players, were at the tail-ends of their NBA careers. The Doctor led the Sixers to the Finals in his first NBA season in '77. They lost to the Blazers. He led them back in 1980, only to lose to rookie Magic Johnson and Kareem's Lakers. In '81, Moses led the Rockets to the Finals, only to lose to Larry Bird and the Celtics (who had just beaten the Sixers in an insane 7 game ECF many view as the greatest playoff series ever; Houston knocked off defending champion Lakers to reach the Finals). In '82, it was a repeat of '80, with Erving and the Sixers losing to Magic and the Lakers again. In 1983, Moses joined forces with Julius in Philly (see: "fo', fo', fo'"). Dr. J's and Moses Malone's only title was a swansong of sorts for a generation of players who played their primes in the 1970s, basketball's lost decade. In my estimation, the modern NBA began in 1983-1984. Magic and Bird came into their own leading Lakers and Celtics teams that would embarrass any team today. Athletes were coming into the league disciplined from college, but not run into the ground too soon. They were hungry because there was money to be made, but not so much so as to disincentivize continued development. Coaches had more power, which meant harder play from players more often, which resulted in shorter careers.
Jordan: 16pts (4-17) 5reb 7ast 5stl 2blk
Erving: 26pts (11-22) 8reb 4ast 2blk
Malone: 39pts (12-23) 19reb
Barkley: 2pts (1-5)
🎶: "Forget Me Nots" - Patrice Rushen
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