It's not a secret that Julius Erving, A.K.A 'Dr. J' is one of the most influential players of all time. He was a living legend during the 70s and one of the flashiest and most entertaining players to watch in basketball history.
Michael Jordan himself admitted to modeling his game to Erving's, claiming that he made basketball entertaining and was the first player to bring creativity to the game because of how versatile he was:
“The first person I saw was Julius Erving in the NBA. He brought so much creativity to the game. Under the hand against the Lakers, behind the basket, we all tried to do it once he did it. I guess I would have never had those visions if I hadn’t seen Dr. J in his time. He played above the rim, around the rim, and underneath. You know, he did a lot of different things and you have to give credit to the doctor," Jordan once said.
Now, decades later, the former Nets and Sixers star admitted that he used to think that he was so much better than Michael Jordan, even though time eventually proved him wrong:
“In the beginning you know it was interesting because uh when he (Jordan) came out of college and we actually me, he and Dominique Wilkins went to an event in Atlanta, Georgia and it was a golf event we ended up getting in the gym and playing some basketball. So I saw what he had, but I also knew what I had and whatever so you know it was like he was a junior version, uh but as you know time will tell the story, that’s a six-time championship, five-time MVP or whatever he certainly surpassed my accomplishments," Erving said, as quoted by The Sports Rush.
Confidence is one of the things that makes star players stand out the most, and as a competitor, you wouldn't expect Erving to think of him as a lesser player than Michael Jordan.
Then again, being right below His Airness isn't something to be embarrassed about. At the end of the day, the guy is still considered the greatest player of all time, so there's no shame in that.