As a youngster growing up in New York City — long before the glitz and glamour associated with professional sports; long before thousands cheered and adored him night in and night out; long before he put his own personal stamp on NBA history — Julius Erving used to look for a quiet spot where he could clear his head and think.

In a city known for its hustle and bustle — one that literally never sleeps — such spots weren’t easy to find. So, he chose a rooftop.

“As a child my bedroom was on the top floor of our house,” he recalled for RC in preparation of delivering keynote address to kickoff IRE 2018. “I used to climb out the window and sit alone on my roof to think and meditate.”

And he would dream … dream big.

Those dreams would ultimately become a reality for Erving, who delivered handsomely on his natural athleticism and virtually unrivaled creativity on the basketball court to become one of the sport’s most enduring ambassadors and influential legends. 

His skillset so unique, his physical ability to play above the rim virtually unmatched by his peers, Erving became a household name in an era before sports saturated the American entertainment landscape. He also earned a catchy nickname that remains his calling card today, more than three decades after his retirement.    

Dr. J is an 11-time NBA All Star, a former league most valuable player award winner, and helped lead the Philadelphia 76ers to the NBA championship in 1983. Prior to it’s merging with the NBA, Erving played in the American Basketball Association and earned four most valuable player awards, three championships and three scoring titles. He’s one of the few players to win an NBA All-Star MVP, league MVP and league Citizenship Award, and was inducted in the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1993. Three years later, a panel of media members, former players and coaches, and current and former team general managers selected him to the NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Time Team, solidifying his spot as one of the game’s 50 greatest players.

Attendees will hear first-hand this living legend’s journey from the streets of New York to NBA stardom, and what he learned about leadership, perseverance and overcoming obstacles during his illustrious 16-season career in one of the world’s most competitive professional sports. Roofing contractors should walk away with an enlightened perspective of Dr. J’s character, and a deeper understanding of the power that grace, humility, determination and teamwork play while striving for success at the highest levels of business.  

Erving said staying properly motivated is the key to long-term success, and he hopes roofers walk away from his presentation with ideas to better their businesses.

“Always keep the carrot in front of you so that the best days of your life are still yet to come,” said Erving, now 67. “We will also discuss teamwork and goal setting.”

Though he didn’t get to truly realize his ability to become a leader until excelling at team sports, Erving said he discovered his knack for leadership when he was as young as 15. He sought mentors to help his development, a fact he now relishes as he’s become a mentor to others himself.

Once he was done playing, Erving settled into life as a businessman and corporate executive.

He owned a Coca-Cola bottling plant in Philadelphia and worked as a television analyst for his former team. In 1997, he joined the front office of the Orlando Magic and served as vice president of RDV Sports and executive vice president.

The experience gave him a unique perspective on management and business ownership, areas he knows roofing contractors in attendance at the IRE can relate to. He also knows the importance of branding, and how to maintain a positive reputation despite repeated challenges that will inevitably emerge in any sustained business career. Of all the advice he could relay to any roofing contractors during his address, Erving implored the importance of working with people and companies that you trust and that trust you.

“Be very careful who you align your brand with for the short term,” he said. “Because once you associate your brand with another for a short while, you will find those associations easily continue past the terms of the arrangement.”

The keynote address is sponsored by Malarkey Roofing Products, and is free with all registration packages, however, advance registration is required. Visit for more information.


IRE Keynote Address

Title: “What I Learned”

Speaker: Julius “Dr. J” Erving

Date: Tuesday, Feb. 6, 9:30 a.m. to 10:50 a.m.

Room: The Great Hall AD