31 Co-Founder, Partner – Erving Wonder – Executive Vice President – Erving Wonder/Sanctuary Group Inc., New York City
Julius Erving III wants to make it clear that his accomplishments are not to be confused with those of his father, basketball legend Julius Erving. The younger Erving’s dexterity is demonstrated not on the court but in the entrepreneurial arena. Erving is most competitive in the music industry, vying for talent and promoting some of the R&B industry’s hottest talent.
While a student at Clark University in Atlanta, Erving learned the fundamentals of music marketing and promotion during an internship at Steve Rifkin’s Loud Records. In 1996, he launched his own management company, J. Erving Group, and secured his first client, a female R&B group out of Chicago. Erving later teamed up with longtime friend Troy Carter to form Erving/Wonder Management in Philadelphia, a city described by music executives as one of the most fertile breeding grounds for developing new talent in the genres of hip-hop and R&B.
Erving has managed to discover dynamic performers and position himself as a music mogul. One of Erving/Wonder’s success stories is the London-born duo Floetry, whose 2002 debut album received Grammy nominations. Erving’s roster of talent also includes such top names as Angie Stone, Rodney Jerkins, and hip-hop artists Freeway and Journalist.
In 2004, Erving/Wonder became a division of Sanctuary Group, one of the largest international music companies. Erving is now executive vice president of Sanctuary Group’s urban division, which represents such artists as Nelly, Tweet and D12.
Erving credits his father and mother, Turquoise, for laying the foundation for his professional achievements, and Bill Russell, the first African-American to coach a team in a major sport and the first Black inductee into the Basketball Hall of Fame, who taught him that “concentration and mental toughness are the margins of victory.” His partnership with Carter is priceless, he says.
When he is not spending time with his children, Erving is working with Carter to develop the Erving Wonder Foundation to improve music education in public schools in Philadelphia. They then hope to go nationwide.