Postcard From Former D Magazine Publisher Terry Murphy

Terry Murphy was the publisher of D Magazine back in the day. He also started a little street basketball competition known as Hoop-It-Up. When he told me recently that he was in town for the All-Star Game, I asked him why. Here’s a little history about D Magazine‘s connection to the NBA and what the big man is doing is doing with himself these days:

Busy this week with my old NBA pals. They were partners in the Hoop-It-Up portion of my old enterprise, Streetball Partners (along with NBC Sports and Lamar Hunt, which we sold in 2000), and the All Star weekend serves as our annual reunion. Lots of games, parties, and pretending that Commissioner David Stern really thinks of me as a close personal friend and adviser. Worse, I have had to inform scores of part-time acquaintances that my ticket allocation was exhausted just before they called to beg another four ducats.

One of my challenges this year was selecting restaurants in which to meet and feed the visiting NBA staffers. I want the local experience to be memorable and something they couldn’t get in Manhattan or environs. Bringing a twelve-pack into Mia’s was a start, and Celebration is usually appropriate. Classic steak joints aren’t that special, nor are our many international options. But later in the week brought back the old hoops memories. One of the guys wanted to meet at The Palm, but knowing my picture was still on the wall from my old D Magazine days, I suggested Dick’s Last Resort.

Often my guests want to know about the origins of Hoop-It-Up, which began as Hoop-D-Do in 1986. (Get it? The D of D Mag? Hoop-D-Do?) I was the publisher of D from 1984 to 1988. Center court was the intersection of Market and Ross. When I left the magazine I decided to roll out the successful 3-on-3 event nationally, ultimately selling national sponsorship of a national tour to Pepsi and Pizza Hut in 1989. The Pepsico marketing geniuses then told me that for their million dollars sponsorship fee they could call the Tour anything they wanted ….and how did I like Hoop-It-Up?

I told them I absolutely loved it!

When we sold the company eleven years later we were doing 302 events in 27 countries, giving million$$ to charities, and employing 280 people. The annual event in Dallas boasted over 13,000 participants! A week after getting paid my wife of 36 years filed for divorce. Since that time I’ve split time in Spain, Maui, Cedar Creek Lake, and Addison. My jumpshot still needs work. So does my love life. I’m still on the Christmas card list of the commissioners of the NBA, NFL, MLB, and NHL, with whom we had from a dozen to 200 events each year.

When I’m not traveling I make desultory attempts at writing a novel, and generally pretend that Ernest Hemingway has nothing on me in writing skill or wine drinking. The trouble with most bad writers is that they are mere sprinters. I soon hope to find the right combination of time, talent and wine to make this a marathon-like success.