By the time I made it to the Spectrum for the first time in 1978, Philadelphia's first modern indoor sports arena was anything but.
Gum and dried food stuck under and on the seats, floors were tacky and it had an ambience more fitting for a vampire than two major professional sports franchises.
But when the dim lights went dark, memories were plentiful in the 1970s for the passionate Philly sports fans.
Six years later, the 76ers won their second NBA title, thanks to Erving, NBA MVP Moses Malone and a cast of gritty, gutsy players who embodied the city they played in.
The Spectrum changed names three times before being demolished and replaced by the existing Wells Fargo Center.
Thirty years after their second NBA title, the Sixers have no iconic figure on the roster, no coach and no third championship. They are spectators for this year's postseason.
The Flyers also are golfing this spring instead of battling for Lord Stanley's Cup.
The Eagles have a new coach after a horrendous 2012 season in what was Andy Reid's last in charge. The Phillies' window of opportunity for a dynasty closed last season and this figures to be Charlie Manuel's final summer on the bench.
The modern South Philly Sports Complex is a real treasure. The teams housed in the few-block radius are not.
Every year I went to the Spectrum, I sat near a large man whose favorite player was the 76ers center. First, it was Darryl Dawkins, who shattered backboards with ferocious dunks he creatively named.
Inevitably, the 76ers fan and I went back and forth. He got rowdy when Chocolate Thunder threw one down. I cheered every skyhook Jabbar rolled up.
Even at 13 years old, I appreciated Erving's skills.
I loved Dave Zinkoff's calls as the 76ers voice. His pre-game announcement of Erving was chilling: "From the University of Massachusetts, No. 6, Julius The Doctor Errrrrrrrrrrving."
Philly fans roared in admiration of Dr. J, whose acrobatic moves around the basket and soaring dunks are legendary.
When I first went to the Lakers-76ers games, I was one of about five Los Angeles fans, so Jabbar heard me yell at him for not making it up the court in what I deemed a timely fashion.
That kid Jabbar grabbed in the cockpit during the 1980 movie, "Airplane," that would have been me if the Hall of Famer could have found me in the dungeon that was the Spectrum.
The Lakers were marginal, barely a playoff team until they drafted Earvin "Magic" Johnson leading up to the 1979-80 season. They beat Erving's 76ers for the 1980 NBA title, thanks to Johnson's incredible Game 6 performance in the Spectrum. It included 42 points in Jabbar's absence because of a sprained ankle suffered in Game 5.