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Robert Tractor Traylor

May 11, 2011 by staff 

Robert Tractor TraylorRobert Tractor Traylor, Robert Traylor, the former Michigan basketball star and NBA player short, was found dead in his apartment in Isla Verde, Puerto Rico today, according to a statement from Facebook in Spanish from his club career (through SB Nation Scott Schroeder). Traylor was 34 years old.

The cause of death was not available to the public. From his time as a dominant force in the low post collegiate and brief stint in the NBA, Traylor had battled obesity and a heart defect that required surgery in 2006. After surgery, Traylor signed with New Jersey Nets, but the deal was scrapped when the big man does not pass a physical examination. Traylor professionals toured abroad – Turkey, Italy and Puerto Rico – while continuing the fight of his weight and his heart while flashing some skill on the court, was the MVP of the All-Star Game in Turkey in 2009, and was named defensive player of the year in Puerto Rico in 2010.

Despite its place alongside Kevin Garnett, Vince Carter and Paul Pierce in the 1995 class of McDonald’s All-American and brilliance that followed in college, never Traylor had an impact at the professional level. Perhaps most interesting of his career in the NBA draft night in 1998, the Dallas Mavericks traded Traylor to Milwaukee for the rights to a lanky German striker few in America had heard about. The name of that progress was Dirk Nowitzki. The rest, as they say, is history.

However, any college hoops fan over, say, 21 years, never forget the name of “Tractor” Traylor. It was the most appropriate term possible for your name, this huge mass of a man who physically imposed his will on the defense of the facility with its parent. Perhaps no player in the history of the game at the same time was so big and athletic, it’s hard to remember a basketball player with the same mix of enormous size and amazing fast speed.

Tractor Traylor planted on the block, caught the ball, and supported by you. Good luck stopping it. He was so feared in the public hearing. No. 6 feet 8 inches, 300 pounds human being should have been capable of what he could do Traylor. It dribbled, passed, submerged tire tore apart. It was the tractor. The man, the tractor was fun to watch.

Traylor was not the player in college basketball the greatest of all time. He was not more skillful. But he was one of the most unique, fun and downright gay college basketball players that we have seen; a singular figure hoops fans few will forget.

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