Thursday, September 27, 2007

Roy Tarpley vs Reality

I normally read the basketball news services, blogs and the like for information about the NBA and it doesn't affect me much on an emotional level. I may raise an eyebrown reading about Shawn Marion being upset and wanting to be traded or chuckle a little when I read Stephon Marbury trying to get his name in the press for his sneakers by saying something totally outrageous but not much really gets under my skin and makes me boiling mad.

Today is one of those exceptions to the rule.

As some of you may know, and others are about to find out, I was a Dallas Mavericks fan since they were awarded an NBA team back in 1980. As a student at SMU I was fortunate enough to attend games from the beginning and watching the team develop from terrible (Jim Spanarkle led them in scoring thier first season) to respectable (Mark Aquirre, Rolando Blackman and Derek Harper days) to competing for the elite when Roy Tarpley was on the verge of becoming the best player in the NBA.

Roy was drafted 7th in the NBA draft and as a rookie on a playoff team he managed to average 7 points and 7 boards a game. The next three seasons he averaged a double double every year with career highs of 17.3 ppg and 13.1 rpg. Early in his career he came off the bench. He was the best 6th man in the league. George Karl said of Roy Tarpley

"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."
In 1988 Tarpley won the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year award when he finished 7th in the league in rebounding. He was the first person in NBA history to finish in the top 10 in rebounding as a reserve.

Roy Tarpley still holds team records for the Mavs. He was on the verge. He was the man the Mavs were building their future around. He was going to change the balance of power in the Western Conference away from the West Coast to Texas. He was single handedly going to change Dallas from a football city to a basketball city.

He never did.

In 1989 he was suspended for 49 games for violating his aftercare program for substance abuse. Basically that was strike two under the old three strikes and you are out program. Now you have to remember that in Dallas at that time SMU was just resurfacing after facing it's own three strikes situation when the football program was given the death penalty so people took that third strike seriously. Tarpley didn't. In 1991, five games into the season, Tarpley was given the death penalty for failing a drug test and the Mavericks spiraled out of control just as bad as tarpley did.

He attempted to make a comeback in 1994 but again failed a drug test. He was suspended for life from the NBA for abuse of alcohol. The Mavs, so close to the top, eventually bottomed out the year before winning a mere 13 games.

Now Tarpley is suing the NBA to be reinstated claiming protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
"Tarpley is a qualified individual with a disability within the meaning of the ADA, in that he has a disability in the form of past drug and alcohol abuse, which substantially limits at least one of his major life activities,"
That is according to a brief filed in Houston.

Understand this isn't about trying to play in the NBA anymore. Tarpley is 42 after all and hasn't played for over 10 years in the league. No, Roy Tarpley wants his name back. As a fan my first question is why wouldn't you want to change your name instead of asking for it back? Roy Tarpley killed the franchise. What was supposed to be the glory years for that franchise turned into a horror story all because of Roy Tarpley.

Who would want that name anymore?

I am glad to hear that Tarpley has cleared his life of the cocaine and alcohol demons that haunted him earlier. I wish him the best in leading a clean and sober life going forward but to sue because he was caught drinking after being warned he couldn't touch alcohol and play in the NBA is insane. Who cares if he wasn't drunk at the time he was caught. He was not allowed to drink and play in the NBA.

I don't care if Tarpley gets reinstated or not. The damage he inflicted on the fans of the Mavs is long since past. However to ask for financial restitution now is ludicrous. While this lawsuit doesn't expressly ask for money the last time he pulled this stunt he asked for $6 million and you know he is only doing this to extort money from the team and the league so be prepared for another million dollar damage claim. I hope the league doesn't give him a penny personally. He had a chance and he blew it for himself and the fans of the Mavs. It isn't the league's fault he couldn't keep clean. He lost his $20 million contract because he couldn't stay clean. Period. End of discussion.

And while Tarpley may say he is doing this to get his name back. I for one will never forget his reputation. That he can't ever reclaim no matter how many lawsuits he files.

I wonder if I can sue him for dashing the hopes of all Dallas fans?


Anonymous said...

WTF? Are YOU on drugs? Who cares about this shhhhhh. Back to the Grizzlies please!

ChipC3 said...

I was a Mavs fan before I was a Grizz fan and the pain of Roy Tarpley still hurts.

Sorry if my rare contribution to the NBA at large upsets you so.

Anonymous said...

He may need to be reinstated to receive any retirement benefits or pension. I wouldn't think banned players would have access to any of that.

Anonymous said...