LOS ANGELES Bernie Bickerstaff was reminiscing Saturday about the time when one of his teams was playing the Dallas Mavericks.
Bickerstaff was coaching the Seattle Supersonics at the time, and Mavs power forward/center Roy Tarpley was in the midst of one of those spectacular games.
“Something happened and he really went down and he played against us one game and just lit it up, rebounding because he could rebound the ball,’’ said Bickerstaff, who now works as a scout for the Cleveland Cavaliers. “He didn’t have many peers on the boards.’’
Tarpley, who played for the Mavs from 1986-’90 and again during the 1994-’95 season, died Friday in Arlington. Bickerstaff scouted Saturday’s game between the Los Angeles Clippers and Mavs, and didn’t personally know Tarpley.
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But he was empathetic that Tarpley’s life would be cut short at the age of 50.
“It’s unfortunate in life, but things happen and you never know in terms of the guys,’’ Bickerstaff said. “No way did I think he was a bad person.
“Things happen with our tolerance, so it was an unfortunate thing that a life could be ended at 50. There’s so much ahead.’’
Tarpley, Bickerstaff noted, gave his team many of headaches with his propensity for being effective down low and on the perimeter.
“It’s sad,’’ Bickerstaff said of Tarpley’s death. “It keeps everything in perspective as far as I’m concerned.
“But I thought he was a top level guy, a good basketball player. He was a good person who was unfortunate in terms of the things that controlled him.’’