Julius Erving met his 27-year-old daughter, pro tennis player Alexandra Stevenson - really met her - for the first time on Halloween.
This astounding reunion and the story behind it, will be the subject of ESPN's "Outside the Lines," at 9 a.m. Sunday.
You might know the story. Erving fathered Alexandra out of wedlock with former freelance sports writer Samantha Stevenson. Alexandra was born on Dec. 15, 1980. Erving, who was married and playing for the 76ers at the time, didn't acknowledge his daughter for years, never saw her, never spoke to her.
In 1999, while Alexandra was becoming the first qualifier to reach the Wimbledon women's singles finals, it was revealed that she was Doctor J's daughter. Erving denied it at first, before admitting it 2 days later.
There was no contact until this October, when Alexandra reached out to Erving to see if he could help her land much-needed financial sponsors as she tries to overcome injuries and recapture her tennis glory.
Erving returned her call, referred to himself as "dad," got acquainted over the phone and set up the Halloween meeting.
In the ESPN interview, Erving wears a UMass basketball hoodie and a fatherly glow. He speaks lovingly of his daughter, who first met Erving at a basketball clinic when she was 8 years old and had an awkward introduction after she was picked as one of the clinic's top players.
"So many things have happened since Halloween - our first Thanksgiving, [it will be] our first Christmas, our first birthday [together]," Erving says. "I want to make all of these things as special as they can be."
In the interview, Alexandra also seems comfortable and happy. "I've never had a chip on my shoulder," she says.
Alexandra is attempting a comeback after undergoing surgery in 2004 for a torn labrum in her right shoulder. She is ranked 212th in the world and she plans to compete in the Australian Open qualifying tournament in Melbourne in January.
One of her goals is to get back to Wimbledon. One of Erving's goals is to be in London to watch. *