Roy Tarpley, drug-plagued former Mavericks center, dies

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) - Roy Tarpley, the former Dallas Mavericks star center whose NBA career was cut short by drug abuse, has died. He was 50.

A Tarrant County medical examiner's report says Tarpley died Friday afternoon at Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital. No cause of death was given in the online report.

The 7-foot Tarpley was the seventh pick in the 1986 NBA draft out of Michigan. He played for the Mavs until October 1991, when he was kicked out of the NBA for using cocaine.

He played in Greece until the NBA reinstated him in 1994. He signed a six-year, $20 million contract with the Mavericks but was permanently banned from the NBA 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 career NBA games.

"The Dallas Mavericks organization is deeply saddened upon hearing the death of former Sixth Man of the Year Roy Tarpley," the Mavs said in a statement on Friday evening. "Our deepest condolences go out to his family.  Mavs fans everywhere will remember him fondly."

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