Donovan loved Knicks, but didn't ignore Dr. J

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Bulls coach Billy Donovan said one of his favorite players growing up was Julius Erving, here getting the upper hand on Denver's Dan Issel in the Feb. 9, 1976, game at the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, N.Y.

    Bulls coach Billy Donovan said one of his favorite players growing up was Julius Erving, here getting the upper hand on Denver's Dan Issel in the Feb. 9, 1976, game at the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, N.Y. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 2/3/2021 1:38 PM

When asked about coaching against the Knicks, Bulls coach Billy Donovan said he would have been kicked out of his house if he wasn't a Knicks fan as a kid, and grew up admiring Walt Frazier.

But living in Rockville Center, on Long Island, there was another team right up the road in the early 1970s, the ABA's New York Nets featuring Julius Erving. Did they get any Donovan love?

 

"It was a lot easier to get to the Nassau Coliseum for me than it was going to Madison Square Garden," he said. "So believe me -- Darnell Hillman, Super John Williamson, Brian Taylor, Dr. J -- I was there watching those guys play. That was back then during the ABA so it was a little bit of a different feel back then.

"But oh yeah, we were fans of those teams too. Obviously Dr. J was from Long Island and grew up in Roosevelt, so I was always a big fan of his, even when he went from the Nets to Philly."

When the ABA merged into the NBA in 1976, Erving's contract was traded to the 76ers and the Nets moved from Long Island to New Jersey. For those Nassau County natives like Donovan, it was fun while it lasted.

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