Roy Tarpley
Roy Tarpley.jpg
Roy Tarpley in 1985
Personal information
Born(1964-11-28)November 28, 1964
New York City, New York
DiedJanuary 9, 2015(2015-01-09) (aged 50)
Arlington, Texas
Listed height6 ft 11 in (2.11 m)
Listed weight230 lb (104 kg)
Career information
High schoolCooley (Detroit, Michigan)
CollegeMichigan (1982–1986)
NBA draft1986 / Round: 1 / Pick: 7th overall
Selected by the Dallas Mavericks
Playing career1986–2006
PositionPower forward / Center
Career history
19861991Dallas Mavericks
1991–1992Wichita Falls Texans
1992Miami Tropics
1994–1995Dallas Mavericks
1998–1999Apollon Limassol
1999Esperos Kallitheas
1999–2000Ural Great
2000–2001Beijing Olympians
2003–2004Sioux Falls Skyforce
2005Dodge City Legend
2005–2006Michigan Mayhem
Career highlights and awards
Career NBA statistics
Points3,533 (12.6 ppg)
Rebounds2,803 (10.0 rpg)
Stats Edit this at Wikidata at
Stats Edit this at Wikidata at

Roy James Tarpley (November 28, 1964 – January 9, 2015) was an American professional basketball player. He played the power forward and center positions in the National Basketball Association (NBA), earning an NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award in 1988. In 1995, Tarpley was permanently banned by the NBA due to his drug and alcohol abuse. He played in Europe for Olympiacos, Aris, and Iraklis.

College career

Tarpley starred at the University of Michigan, and was named a 3rd-Team All-American by the AP in 1985 and 1986. In the 1984–85 season Tarpley led the Wolverines to the Big Ten championship, averaging 19.0 points and 10.4 rebounds per game throughout the season, himself earning the Big Ten Player of the Year award.[1][2] On February 7, 1985, he posted a career-high in scoring against Purdue with 31 points.[3][4] In his senior season Tarpley set the school record for most blocked shots in a game against Florida Southern.[3][5] He led his school in blocked shots in each of his college years, and he also led the school in scoring and rebounding in all but his freshman season.[3] As of March 2014, he was the Wolverines' all-time leader in blocked shots with 251.[3] Tarpley finished his college career posting averages of 13.1 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game.[1]

Professional career

Dallas Mavericks (1986–1991)

In 1986, Tarpley 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. The following year, he won the NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award, when he averaged 13.5 points and 11.8 rebounds per game.[6] During the 1988 NBA Playoffs, Tarpley and the Mavericks nearly made it to the NBA Finals, losing in the Western Conference Finals to the Los Angeles Lakers. In the seven-game series, Tarpley averaged 15.9 points, 13 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks.[7] The following season, on November 9, 1988, Tarpley scored a career high 35 points and grabbed 17 rebounds in a 111–103 loss to the Phoenix Suns.[8]

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, after a third violation, he was banned from the league for violating the NBA's drug-use policies.[citation needed]

Return to Dallas (1994–1995)

Tarpley 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 finished with NBA career with averages of 12.6 points and 10.0 rebounds per game.[citation needed]

Tarpley sued the Dallas 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 January 2009.[9]


Tarpley also played for Aris, Olympiacos, Iraklis, and Esperos Kallitheas in Greece's top-tier level professional basketball league, the Greek Basket League. In the 1992–93 FIBA European Cup season, he won the European-wide second-tier level FIBA European Cup, with Sato Aris, against the Turkish Super League club Efes Pilsen. The tournament's final took place in Turin.[citation needed]

Tarpley reached the European-wide top-tier level EuroLeague's Final, the following year, by playing in the 1994 EuroLeague Final Four. During the final four, he played with Olympiacos, against 7up Joventut, in Tel Aviv. That same year, he led the EuroLeague competition in rebounds, with an average of 12.8 per game.[10] With Olympiacos, Tarpley also won the Greek League and the Greek Cup.[citation needed]

Michigan Mayhem (2005–2006)

Tarpley played with the Michigan Mayhem of the Continental Basketball Association (CBA) during part of the 2005–2006 season before suffering a season-ending hand injury. He was selected to the CBA All-Star Game, but missed the game because of his injury.[11]


Tarpley died on January 9, 2015, aged 50. No official cause of death was released, but reports indicated that it was due to liver failure.[12]


  1. ^ a b "Roy Tarpley Stats". Retrieved April 29, 2015.
  2. ^ "Michigan to Honor 1965, '85 Championship Teams". February 20, 2015. Retrieved April 29, 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d "University of Michigan Basketball History & Record Book" (PDF). University of Michigan. March 24, 2014. Retrieved April 29, 2015.
  4. ^ "College basketball; Illinois upset by Michigan State 64-56". New York Times. February 8, 1985. Retrieved April 29, 2015.
  5. ^ "Michigan 91, Florida Southern 68". Associated Press. December 7, 1985. Retrieved April 29, 2015.
  6. ^ "Roy Tarpley, 50, Center Banished by N.B.A., Dies," New York Times, January 12, 2015.
  7. ^ "1988 NBA Western Conference Finals". Basketball Reference.
  8. ^ "Roy Tarpley Career High 35 Points". Statmuse.
  9. ^ "Roy Tarpley, a Talented but Troubled Basketball Player, Dies at 50". ABC News.
  10. ^ "Roy James Tarpley | European Championship for Men's Clubs (1994) | FIBA Europe".
  11. ^ "Michigan great Roy Tarpley, who passed away Friday, had Muskegon stop in basketball journey". mlive. January 10, 2015.
  12. ^ "Former Mavericks player Roy Tarpley dies at age 50". Star-Telegram. January 9, 2015. Retrieved January 9, 2015.