Roy James Tarpley (November 28, 1964 – January 9, 2015) was an American professional basketball player. He played the power forward and center positions, earning an NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award in 1988. Despite his talent, Tarpley became notable during his career for being banned from the NBA because of his drug and alcohol abuse. He did have some success playing in Europe.
Tarpley starred at the University of Michigan, and was named a 3rd-Team All-American by the AP in 1985 and 1986. In 1986 he was selected by the Dallas Mavericks in the first round, with the seventh pick of the NBA Draft. Tarpley made the NBA All-Rookie Team in his first season.
However, six games into the 1989–90 season, he was arrested for driving while intoxicated and resisting arrest, and suspended by the NBA. In March 1991, he drew another suspension after being arrested for DWI again. A few months later, he notched a third violation and was banned from the league for violating the NBA's drug-use policies. He returned to the Mavericks briefly in 1994, but was then permanently banned from the NBA in December 1995 for using alcohol and violating the terms of a court-imposed personal aftercare program. He holds NBA career averages of 12.6 points and 10.0 rebounds per game.
Tarpley also played for Aris, Olympiacos and Iraklis in Greece's top professional basketball league, the A1 Ethniki Championship. In 1993 he won the Saporta Cup with Aris and reached the Euroleague final the following year while playing with Olympiacos against Joventut Badalona in Tel Aviv. That same year he led the Euroleague competition in rebounds with an average of 12.8 per game. With Olympiacos, Tarpley also won the Greek League and the Greek Cup.
In 2006, he played with the Michigan Mayhem of the Continental Basketball Association.
He sued the Mavericks and the NBA, claiming that their refusal to reinstate him violated the Americans with Disabilities Act because his addiction was a disability. The suit was settled out of court in March 2009. On January 9, 2015, Tarpley died at the age of 50.
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