Remember Roy Tarpley, the former NBA Dallas Mavericks' star who joined one of Russia's top basketball teams last year - Ural Great? The Moscow Times wrote about him in December 1999, soon after he arrived in Perm to sign on with the club.

Named Sixth Man of the Year in 1988, Tarpley, 35, was once one of the NBA's brightest stars. But drug and alcohol problems affected his professional career in the United States. He was twice banned for life from the NBA for substance abuse - once in 1991 and again in 1995 after he had been reinstated and given a new $22 million contract with the Mavericks.

Tarpley's contract with Ural Great ended with the close of the basketball season on May 19. He was one of the team's best players during the season, having scored 188 points in 17 games, said Vera Vakulenko, the Ural Great's international relations manager.

His results might have been even better, if it hadn't been for some bad luck. Last winter he slipped on the ice in front of his building and broke his right hand. It took him over a month to recover.

Then during the last series of the season Tarpley injured his left hand after scoring 18 points in the first 27 minutes of the game. He had to sit out the last two matches, and his team lost all three games.

Tarpley, who is undergoing treatment for the injury, is leaving Russia for good. He plans to go to Greece, where he has played basketball before, Vakulenko said.

"He hasn't signed any new contracts yet, but he'd like to have some warmer place to live," she said.

- Tanya Mosolova