Dr. J blocking Jeff Cook's shot sometime in the early 80s. * MCT photo
Dr. J blocking Jeff Cook's shot sometime in the early 80s. * MCT photo
Kobe or LeBron?

Ask NBA legend and Hall of Famer Dr. J, Julius Erving, which current superstar he'd like to play alongside and it would be neither of those two reigning kings of the court.

If Dr. J could roll back the clock and suit up with a current NBA player, the answer might surprise you.

"I like the way Tim Duncan plays," he said.

Duncan plays forward-centre for the San Antonio Spurs and is a two-time NBA MVP.

Dr. J said: "He's a centre and I had Moses Malone (with the Philadelphia 76ers in the early 80s). Having the dominant guy in the middle makes the job a little bit easier. He plays a fundamental game and even though my game was rooted in fundamentals there were a lot of extraordinary things that happened on the court for me because of fundamentals being intact.

"I would have liked to play with him."

Dr. J said Duncan, 32, still probably has three or four good years left.

"I still think he's got a lot left in the tank. He's a guy I like to watch so I would probably enjoy playing with him."

More physical

He said the game has evolved from the 1970s and early 80s with a new breed of basketball player.

During his hey day, Dr. J weighed in at what might be considered skinny by today's standards at 6'6" 200 pounds with rivals James Worthy of the Los Angeles Lakers (6'9" 225 pounds) and Larry Bird pf the Boston Celtics (6'9" 200 pounds) not much bigger.

"The physicality of the game has evolved in a different way - guys are bigger, faster, stronger. There might not be as much contact as was allowed before with the hand checking and the body checking, but there are guys like LeBron James who are 6'8', 6'9" 265 or 270 pounds. You just didn't see players like that in my day. If you did see guys like that he was down playing close to the basket like a Wes Unseld type so the sport has evolved in that way."