Dr. J Soars onto the Wheaties Box; Special-Edition Package Honoring the NBA Legend Commemorates Black History Month

By Off the BASN Sports Wire
Updated: February 1, 2006

Basketball legend Julius

Basketball legend Julius "Dr. J" Erving admires a new Wheaties box featuring his image. The new package was unveiled Wednesday at the NBA Store in New York, and is now available nationally. The package commemorates Black History Month, and acknowledges Erving's accomplishments both on and off the court, including the 25th anniversary of his NBA MVP Award in 1981. (Photo: Jennifer Pottheiser/ NBAE)

NEW YORK–Julius “Dr. J” Erving is one of the NBA’s all-time greatest stars, and to commemorate his Hall of Fame career he will be honored on the cover of a special-edition Wheaties box. The new package, unveiled today at the NBA Store in New York, continues Wheaties’ tradition of honoring legendary African-American athletes for Black History Month.

Erving was one of the NBA’s marquee stars, a high-flying innovator who changed the way the game is played and provided inspiration for countless players. Dr. J won the 1981 NBA MVP Award, was a five-time All-NBA First Team pick, an 11-time All-Star and a two-time All-Star Game MVP. He also helped lead the Philadelphia 76ers to victory in the 1983 NBA Finals, as well as three other Finals appearances. Prior to joining the NBA, Erving won three MVP awards and a pair of titles with the ABA’s New York Nets. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1993, and named one of the NBA’s 50 Greatest Players in 1996.

Off the court, “The Doctor” served as the sport’s greatest ambassador, and in 1983 was named winner of the NBA’s J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award. In honor of all that Erving and other NBA players do in the community, the Wheaties box also includes information on NBA Cares, the league’s global community outreach program that focuses on education, youth and family development and health-related causes.

“I am very proud to be featured on the cover of the Wheaties box, especially when you consider the outstanding champions across all sports who have had this honor,” Erving said. “It is great company to be in.”

“Dr. J is one of the game’s legends, for his accomplishments both on and off the basketball court,” said Eric Lucas, Wheaties Marketing. “He is clearly deserving of this honor, and we are proud to have him as part of the Wheaties family.”

Other Black History Month honorees have included Muhammad Ali, Hank Aaron, Jackie Robinson, Althea Gibson and Walter Payton. The special-edition package is available on cereal shelves nationally.

Wheaties began its association with sports in the mid-1930s with a sign on the left field wall at Nicollet Park near downtown Minneapolis. General Mills’ broadcast deal with the minor league Minneapolis Millers on WCCO Radio included the large signboard that Wheaties would use to introduce its new ad slogan: “Wheaties–The Breakfast of Champions.” From that rather humble beginning, Wheaties has built a heritage that includes many of the greatest athletes of all time. Learn more at www.wheaties.com.

With 30 teams in the United States and Canada, NBA games and related programming are broadcast to 215 countries in 43 languages. The NBA is also an established leader in sports marketing, currently maintaining its longest list of fully integrated domestic and global marketing partnerships with the most recognizable brands in the world, including the leading Internet content and technology providers that bring the game even closer to fans around the world. For more information on the NBA, visit www.NBA.com.

The Breakfast of Champions(R) and Wheaties(R) are registered trademarks of General Mills.