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Robert "Tractor" Traylor Dead at 34

May 15, 2011


It was learned today that former Michigan basketball star Robert Tractor Traylor died in Puerto Rico from an apparent heart attack at the age of 34. He earned his nickname for his wide and powerful body, but what fascinated me was his quickness and elite footwork that contrasted with the body above the waist. Traylor was a great player at Michigan for three years but was eventually tied to the Ed Martin scandal that rocked the Michigan program,  which had to vacate the Big Ten tournament title won with Traylor in 1998 along with two Final Fours with the Fab Five. He was drafted 6th in the 1998 NBA draft, but went on to have a pedestrian NBA career playing for 4 different teams in a 7 year period, averaging just 5 points a game.

I was eating lunch at a Glory Days today when I saw this story on the Worldwide Leader.  They posted a picture of him and listed his noteworthy accomplishments, which is fine until I see listed, "traded after 1998 draft to Milwaukee for Pat Garrity and Dirk Nowitzki." I realize its a noteworthy piece of into because the trade is probably in the Top 3 worst NBA trades along with Divac for Kobe and the McHale/Parrish deal.  But to me this just seemed tasteless as the assumption is made that its noteworthy enough because Traylor was a draft bust, and that shouldn't be on a person's obituary.  I could be wrong but this just didn't sit right with me.  Of course their next segment tries to predict who has the best chance to throw the next no-hitter, so I shouldn't be surprised.

Milwaukee Journal Article on Robert Tractor Traylor

1 comments:

Teach said...

The death of Robert Tractor Traylor should be more than a time to remember him as a footnote to Dirk Nowitzki. His size and skill were a rare combination, and his death, which came much too early, also signifies how long ago the '90s era of college basketball was, when college players really could be great and capture our imaginations. Or maybe that we (as in people the same age as Russ and myself) now realize the college ranks aren't the final frontier shows how much older we are now than when Tractor Traylor was a regular on SportsCenter. He feels like so much more than a basketball player but that's all we know him as. It's strange. It's sad. It can't be put into words.

May 15, 2011 at 10:02 PM

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