Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban Tweeted, “Our condolences go out to the family of Roy Tarpley. RIP Roy. Mavs fans everywhere will remember you fondly.”
He battled drug and alcohol problems during the course of his career until he was permanently banned in 1995 for not going along with his mandated drug counseling.
Tarpley played in 280 games in six seasons, averaging 12.6 points per game, 10 rebounds, and a block and a steal per contest. Tarpley was an excellent defender and rebounder (he averaged a career-high 13 rebounds in 1989-1990) and a very capable offensive player in the low post. He won the NBA’s Sixth man of the year award in his sophomore season.
However, he managed to continue to make a living at basketball, playing overseas (Greece, Cyprus, Russia and China) and in the United States Basketball League, as well as the Continental Basketball Association before retiring in 2006.
I remember watching him play with Dallas along with Derek Harper, Rolando Blackman, Derek Harper, and Mark Aguirre when they lost to the Los Angeles Lakers, 4-3 in the 1988 postseason and I thought he had such promise to become a truly great player. He was such an athletic player, he was tenacious on the boards and a beast defensively.
He died way too young, RIP big man.
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