DALLAS -- Terry Murphy can't jam, but he was in one two Junes ago.
His company, Streetball Partners Inc., was more than $250,000 in debt. Bankruptcy was a real threat.
A lot of chief executives in such a situation might try to entice prospective investors over lunch. Or, better yet, during a round of golf or a doubles tennis match at some exclusive country club. Or maybe after a few games of racquetball at some fancy health club.
Not Murphy. He headed to Roger Staubach's backyard basketball court, where he knew he could catch a few fat cats playing hoops.
"Chuck Jarvie put me on my rear with a pick, and I thought, 'What about him?,' " Murphy said.
Jarvie, 54, director of Guinness USA and former president of Dr Pepper, recalled he ran Murphy into a tree that grows on the court. Jarvie does not, however, argue about the result.
Jarvie said he looked at the fallen Murphy and consented at midcourt to invest in his company. So did Jarvie's son, Doug, now president of Streetball. Thus, Streetball, which produces the charitable Hoop-It-Up basketball tournament that tips off Friday in Dallas' West End, was saved. Thanks to Staubach's back yard.
Staubach's back yard is becoming as legendary a place to play pick-up basketball as any in the Dallas area. As evidenced by Chuck Jarvie's tree pick, the games at Staubach's can be as tough as any at Singing Hills Recreation Center in Dallas or Tyre Park in suburban Grand Prairie.
And Staubach's back yard attracts nearly as many NBA stars as Reunion Arena and more corporate executives than the Downtown Dallas YMCA.
Michael Jordan, Most Valuable Player of the 1991 NBA Finals and regular season, has played there. The Mavericks' Derek Harper, Rolando Blackman and Randy White also have appeared. "Derek played there once but only shot 20-footers. He didn't want to come inside with guys like me," Murphy said. Harper could not be reached for rebuttal.
Other NBA stars like Spud Webb of the Atlanta Hawks, Ron Harper of the Los Angeles Clippers and Karl Malone of the Utah Jazz have graced Staubach's court. And former Cowboys Cliff Harris, Drew Pearson and Bob Bruenig drop by.
Then there are those wish-they-could've-been sports stars from the corporate community, like Jarvie, Tony Romas' restaurant president Ken Reimer, Pepsi-Cola Co. South president Ron Tidmore and senior citizen Bob Hall, former chief executive officer of Overhead Door Corp.
"We've had the very best and some close to the other end of the spectrum," said Staubach, who presides over his own real estate firm, the Staubach Co.
The games start every Saturday at 9:30 a.m. sharp. Instead of five-on-five, they play three-on-three full court because of the dimensions.
"It's a full court with regulation glass backboards, but only about two-thirds regulation size," Murphy said. "He's got real old, hard Astroturf. And slightly past half court on one side is a tree. You can set some mean picks on a 60-year-old oak."