Roy Tarpley

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Roy Tarpley
Roy tarpley.jpg
Roy Tarpley
Position: Forward/Center
Height: 6'11"
Weight: 230
Nationality: American
Born: 11/28/1964
Birthplace: New York, NY
Draft: 7th overall
Drafted By: Dallas
College: Michigan
NBA Career: 1986-1995
Mavs Tenure: 1986-1995

Roy Tarpley (born November 22, 1964 in New York City) was drafted by the Mavericks in the first round of the 1986 NBA draft.

Tarpley attended the University of Michigan and helped lead the Wolverines to a 54-9 record and back-to-back Big Ten titles his final two seasons. As a junior, he was the unanimous Big Ten Player-of-the-Year with 19.0 ppg and a Big Ten leading 10.4 rpg. He was a third team Associated Press All-American as a junior and second team All-American as a senior and still ranks fifth all-time in career rebounds for the University of Michigan.

Tarpley was drafted out of Michigan, by Dallas, with the seventh overall pick in 1986. His impact was immediate as he played in 75 games and earned NBA All-Rookie first team honors, at the time only the third Mav to do so after Jay Vincent in 1982 and Sam Perkins in 1985.

In only his second NBA season, Tarpley won the NBA Sixth Man Award ranking third in the league in total rebounds. He was the first player in NBA history to finish among the top-10 rebounders as a reserve.

As one of the premier off-the-bench players early in his career, Tarpley was praised as one of the best sixth men in the NBA. George Karl once said, "He's the best player coming off the bench in our game today. I don't even think it is close. He has the one fundamental that all coaches want, but don't know how to teach, rebounding."

Knee injuries slowed Tarpley in his third year and on January 5, 1989 he was suspended by the league for substance abuse issues. He returned the next season, appearing in 45 games and averaging 16.8 points, before again suffering substance abuse problems.

In 1990-1991, Tarpley appeared in only five games before blowing out his knee. While sidelined, he was arrested and ultimately suspended by the NBA.

Tarpley spent several seasons playing in Greece, even leading his team, Aris BC Salonica, to the 1993 European Cup Championship.

The NBA granted Tarpley reinstatement in 1994 and he returned to Dallas signing a six-year, $20 million contract. The season began promisingly enough for Roy as he averaged 12.6 points and 8.2 rebounds per game but after 55 games, Tarpley failed an alcohol test, which was considered the "third strike" by the league and he was banned for life.

Tarpley averaged a double-double in four of his six seasons in the NBA and was a main contributor in the latter part of the Mavs glory days in the late 80s.

He is the current holder of several Maverick all-time records including offensive rebounds in a season and blocked shots in a game. He also holds the rookie records for rebounds in a game and blocked shots in a game.

He set a Mavericks season record with 43 double-doubles in 1988 and had two 20-rebound games in his career, making him the only player in NBA history with more than one game of 20-plus rebounds in the 1988 postseason.

After leaving the NBA in 1995, Tarpley returned to Greece and played for a few seasons. Returning to the United States in 2000, he repeatedly applied for reinstatement to the NBA but was denied each time. He ended his playing career in the Continental Basketball Association, playing for the Michigan Mayhem, between 2003-2006.

A lawsuit that Tarpley filed against the Mavericks and the National Basketball Association was settled out of court in 2009. The suit had claimed that by not reinstating him, the team and league was violating the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Roy Tarpley passed away in an Arlington, Texas hospital on January 9, 2015.