The Philadelphia 76ers of the early 80s made two unsuccessful trips to the NBA Finals (’80 and ’82) before realising ultimate glory in 1983.

During their ’82 run, they defeated the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals, taking Game 7 on the road against the reigning champions to book a meeting with the Lakers.

During that seventh game, photographer Tony Tomsic snapped this image of Julius Erving rising above Larry Bird and Kevin McHale for what appears to be yet another thunderous throwdown.

The photo was subsequently featured in Sports Illustrated, May 31, 1982.Whilst the play didn’t quite turn out the way the photo might suggest, the still of the Doctor challenging two Celtic greats in their own backyard remains a classic.

Lee Olsen, a freelance web and graphic design specialist, recently revisited the captured moment to create this fantastic piece, as featured on his must-follow Instagram account (shift refresh). Far less memorable, and not so recently, was Mazda’s sneaky interpretation of the play for a print ad promoting its relationship with Australian basketball (1985).

(If nothing else, Danny Ainge’s fire red Nike Blazers don’t look too bad)

Sadly, this wasn’t the last time the Doctor would be exploited by automotive industry.


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