Alternate Leagues Impresario Dennis Murphy dies at 94

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Dennis Murphy, a representative of alternative athletic leagues, including tennis and ice hockey, rocked tennis and ice hockey as well and launched creative, sometimes quixotic initiatives in other sports, including indoor hockey. Placentia, California. He was 94 years old.

His son, Dennis Jr., told the Associated Press He said the cause was heart failure.

Mr. Murphy’s most enduring success was the ABA, rivaling the National Basketball Association, when from 1967 to 1976 four of his teams (New York Nets, San Antonio Spurs, Denver Nuggets, and Indiana Pacers) joined the NBA. innovations have become fixtures of mainstream professional basketball – particularly the three-pointers that have become increasingly central to offensive strategy.

“The three-pointer was exactly what our league was supposed to be: a little crazy, a little bit outside of the basketball they played in the NBA,” sports writer Terry Pluto said of Mr. Murphy. 1990 history of the ABA, “Loose Balls.”

Mr Murphy was the league’s chief founder. Mr. Pluto wanted is its “patron saint”.

Perhaps no event with which Mr. Murphy is associated has had a greater cultural impact than the 1973 “Battle of the Sexes” between 29-year-old Billie Jean King and 55-year-old Bobby Riggs. Mr. Murphy co-produced the play, which attracted nearly 90 million viewers worldwide, and was animated by Mr. Riggs’ drama and taunts about putting male supremacy to the test.

Mr. Murphy’s ability to be inspired and try something new has not always led to lasting success. The World Hockey Association, the alternative ice hockey league, only lasted from 1972 to 1979. He was the main force behind Roller Hockey International, which created a professional system for skating on concrete, starting in 1993 and ending in 1999.

Besides his son, Mr. Murphy is survived by his daughters Dawn Mee and Doreen Haarlamert; nine grandchildren; and his seven-great-grandchild, Elaine, died in 1985, according to the AP.

A full obituary will be published soon.

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