Just learned that Robert Traylor, aka The Tractor, is dead.
He was found in his apartment in Puerto Rico (he was a player for Vaqueros de Bayamon). The presumed cause is heart attack—he’s long had problems with his ticker. Traylor was just 34.
We tend to remember mediocre professional athletes by the highest moments of mediocrity. In other words, Traylor is best known as the guy who was drafted by Dallas, then immediately shipped to Milwaukee for the rights to Dirk Nowitzki. To be polite, this did not go well for the Bucks.
Yet before Traylor was an NBA disappointment (in seven seasons with the Bucks, Cavaliers and Hornets, he averaged 4.8 points and 3.7 rebounds in 438 career games), he was a lane-stomping monster at the University of Michigan. Traylor came along after the Fave Five, so the hype wasn’t quite there. But the guy—big, strong, powerful, dynamic—was something to behold. I actually love plus-sized athletes like Traylor; like William Perry; like John Kruk. Because when they do something—even something relatively ordinary—it looks special.