Philadelphia 76er country rocks these days, as Gene (Soft) Shue and the Free-Lancers tune up at Ursinus College, with TV ads featuring a breast-beating Julius Erving . . . radio blurbs . . . mailers . . . and billboards portraying a hand with a raised finger. That's a forefinger, and it signals the theme for an all-out advertising promotion that he has made the NBA runner-up of June the champion season-ticket item of September:

"We Owe You One."

Wags josh that next year the ads will feature the peace sign - "We Owe You Two" - then the year after, the Boy Scout salute - "We Owe You Three." And so on.

Dr. J doesn't care for the blown championship apologia - "There was a certain degree of disappointment at losing, but it didn't ruin my summer" - but is such a team player on the hope that he did the commercial for nothing!

Denver, where attendance is least of the Nugget NBA worries, coach Larry Brown has named official captains for the first time: David Thompson because "the players have always respected David and he's led by example; now I think he needs this, and I think he wants it - to take more responsibility; and Dan Issel because, "after what he went through last year (unmerciful criticsm from fans and former Nugget players). I think this shows him what we think of him" . . .