Julius Erving retired from basketball in 1987. But Dr. J as Moses Archibald had a much longer, much funnier career.
The basketball legend gave acting a shot in a star-studded episode of The 5th Quarter as an over-the-hill athlete who finally decides to hang it up after 50 seasons, thanks to a ceremonial lifetime contract the geriatric basketball player took very seriously.
“He was the best player in the league for 20 straight years,” Candace Parker said. “He was also the worst player in the league for 20 years.”
Erving embraced his role as an old man still playing the game, or at least still trying to play the game.
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“They say every pro athlete dies twice. Once when he retires and the second when he actually goes in the ground,” Archibald said. “So after 50 seasons I think it’s time to hang up my jersey forever.
The episode covers the various farewell tour ceremonies Archibald got from various teams, including one where the Clippers let him watch TV on the court in a rocking chair before the game. Solidifying the Kobe dynamic is a rivalry with a former teammate, played by Fred Willard. Oh, and Stephen A. Smith and The Jabbawockeez are there for some reason, too.
The episode features plenty of cameos from NBA players, including Baron Davis, Iman Shumpert, Chandler Parsons and Lonzo Ball. LaVar is there, too, and he might have the best line of the episode during the credits.
“If I had played him one-on-one he wouldn’t have gotten 20 years,” Ball said. “He would have quit after the first five.”