Former NBA Star Roy Tarpley Dead at 50

by January 13, 2015

Roy Tarpley, a former Dallas Mavericks star center who was twice barred by the NBA for drug and alcohol abuse, died Friday at the Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital.

He was 50 years old; the cause of death isn’t known.

Tarpley, the seventh overall pick in the 1986 NBA Draft, was kicked out of the L for good in 1995.

Per the AP:

He played for the Mavericks until October 1991, when he was kicked out of the league for using cocaine. […] After he was barred, Tarpley played in Greece until the N.B.A. reinstated him in 1994. He signed a six-year, $20 million contract with the Mavericks but was permanently barred in December 1995 for using alcohol and violating the terms of a court-imposed personal aftercare program.


Tarpley averaged 12.6 points and 10.0 rebounds in 280 regular-season games. […] In 1987-88, he averaged 17.1 points and 15.0 rebounds in a career-high 81 games and won the N.B.A.’s Sixth Man of the Year award. He helped Dallas reach the Western Conference finals that season, averaging 17.9 points and 12.9 rebounds in 17 playoff games. Dallas lost to the eventual champions, the Los Angeles Lakers, in seven games.


Tarpley sued the N.B.A. and the Mavericks in 2007, saying they had discriminated against him on the basis of his disability as a recovering drug and alcohol abuser. The lawsuit was settled, but the terms were not disclosed.