When asked about his mentors, Erving said that Ray Wilson was his mentor. He was his high school basketball coach and they have known each other for 49 years. They played golf in Orlando, FL last week and Wilson was still dispensing wisdom at the age of 80 and he was still soaking it all in at the age of 62.
Giving back has almost always been a part of his life. When he was a kid growing up on Long Island, he was asked to become a member of the Salvation Army where he could practice basketball indoors in a safe environment. Once he joined, the next goal was to join the travelling team and he was able to that into his early teens before he moved. When he moved, he started the process again. The Salvation Army reached out a helping hand to him and he has been committed to offering a helping hand to others.