‘Julius Erving left Adidas for a $20,000 deal with Converse’: When Dr. J decided to sign with iconic brand ‘Chuck Taylors’ before Magic Johnson and Larry Bird


Julius Erving signed with Converse for just $20,000 after being with Adidas throughout his ABA run.

Michael Jordan was seduced by the potential to market me to a point where he could make more money off the court than on it. From endorsements to investments, Jordan wanted to know the ins and outs of doing it. Well, to do that, he reached out to none other than NBA/ABA legend Julius Erving.

‘The Doctor’ had established himself as a superstar on the hardwood with his signature aerial maneuvers. He used his immense popularity with the Nets in the ABA and the Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA to put himself front and center in all of his endorsements.

Also Read: ‘Julius Erving’s Business Acumen Was Incredible’: Michael Jordan Credits His Business Acumen to Dr. J for Giving Him Sound Advice

His business acumen was beyond brilliant and is often considered the first athlete to be as good at business as he was on the basketball court. Using his likeness to his advantage has helped him acquire a “hero” persona in the eyes of many basketball fans.

This led to anything related to it being considered the highest gold standard. The shoe brand that noticed this in the mid-70s was Converse.

Julius Erving has signed a $20,000 contract with Converse.

Adidas made history by having Kareem Abdul-Jabbar wear sneakers that he himself had approved. In 1973, Walt Frazier endorsed Puma’s “Puma Clyde,” but the shoe that changed everything from a modern perspective was when Converse released their “Pro Leather” shoes in 1976.

Read also : ‘We swept the Lakers, which means we really beat their a**’: When Julius Erving reveled in his embarrassing 1983 76ers Magic Johnson and company

Julius Erving was chosen to represent these shoes after leaving Adidas in 1975, the same year the NBA merged with the ABA. The first deal Dr. J signed with Converse was worth $20,000 a year. However, this represented an unprecedented amount of money for a shoe deal at the time. After all, that was nearly half a century ago.

Converse rode their “Erving high” in the late 70s and 80s. Luckily for them, they had accumulated enough cache to catch both Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. This made Converse a juggernaut in the sneaker world until Nike finally took them over with the success of the “Air Jordans”.

“We [Magic, Larry and Julius] wore the shoe with pride,” said Julius Erving when asked about the Converse they used to wear.


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