Julius Erving’s championship rings and MVP trophies are among pieces from his collection of basketball memorabilia that will be sold at auction Friday, but the Hall of Famer denies the sale is connected to a lawsuit filed against him by a bank in Atlanta.
Dr. J, 61, is selling 144 items in an auction that was announced hours before the lawsuit was reported by the Atlanta Journal Constitution. A bank reportedly has sued him for the more than $200,000 it says he owes on a loan. “That irony actually gave me a sleepless night last night,” he told the Associated Press. “I had to laugh at it and cringe at it that these stories would run concurrent with one another.”
Among the items in the auction’s catalogue is the 1983 NBA championship ring he won with the Philadelphia 76ers; it has a starting bid of $25,000.
Other items include his 1980-81 NBA MVP trophy ($20,000), ABA championship rings won with the New Jersey Nets from 1974 and 1976 ($15,000 each) and the 1975-76 ABA MVP trophy ($10,000).
Also up for bid: A pair of game-worn Converse sneakers customized for “The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh.” Minimum bid: $500.
“My family is 100 percent behind it,” he said. “We decided to do it a long time ago. To claim it’s a firesale or to clear up some debt, I don’t think so. You don’t do an auction overnight. This has been long planned. We had 4,000 catalogs that have been mailed already to people who buy this kind of stuff.”
Erving, who moved to Atlanta several years ago to be closer to his grandchildren, has had financial setbacks , according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Erving said he tried to resolve the matter with Georgia Primary Bank, which filed suit against him and The Erving Group, on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the sale is on.
“With me being involved in the process and the one that’s putting it out, it’s actually a better situation economically then if my children or grandchildren were to do it,” Erving said. “We decided now’s the time.”