Former NBA player Robert 'Tractor' Traylor found dead
Robert Traylor plays against the Chicago Bulls in 1999.
May 11th, 2011
01:37 PM ET

Former NBA player Robert 'Tractor' Traylor found dead

Robert "Tractor" Traylor, known for his size during the short time he played in the NBA, was found dead in his apartment in Puerto Rico where he had been playing basketball, according to the Bayamon Vaqueros team site.

Calling him "the strength of the Bayamón Vaqueros," the team said Traylor had not been seen for a few days and so they went to his apartment, where he was found dead.

Traylor, 34, is presumed to have died of a heart attack, according to Bayamon Vaqueros. The star struggled due to his size - but also heart problems when he tried to make it in the NBA. He had a heart operation in 2005.

Traylor, who attended the University of Michigan, was taken by the Dallas Mavericks as the sixth pick in the NBA draft in 1998 but was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks for Dirk Nowitzki. (Some Michigan fans in the 1990s might remember him for other reasons.)

The 300-plus pound center joked about his weight in an old SI.com story, but he also acknowledged how it had kept him from being the style of player he wanted - though he did often try conditioning methods to get him in better shape.

His coach at Michigan, current San Diego State Coach Steve Fisher, said Wednesday that Traylor was "one of my favorite people and players that I have ever had the privilege of getting to know."

"Robert was someone who could light up a room with his smile. He was a gentle person but as fierce a competitor as there was," Fisher said. "I am very saddened to hear of his sudden and tragic departure. Robert was one of my favorite people for all the right reasons."

soundoff (41 Responses)
  1. kyle

    The man-CHILD

    May 12, 2011 at 7:34 am | Report abuse |
  2. Len B

    Sad. Never became a "great player" – but so what. Seemed like a nice guy. Too young to die. My heart goes out to his family and friends.

    May 12, 2011 at 7:59 am | Report abuse |
  3. MichaelEdits

    I'm not an NBA fan, but I remember him. I'm sorry to hear this.

    May 12, 2011 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
  4. mrsshabba

    wow i am 34, count our breaths and blessings everyday, but then again with the way the world is now he is most def in a better place....i wish peace to his family

    May 12, 2011 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  5. alvin

    God rest Robert's soul and bless his family. He was a skilled athlete, gone too soon.

    May 12, 2011 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Dr. Gill

    Fond memeories of him playing for the Charlotte Hornets. He was a crowd favorite because he was a genuine guy.

    May 12, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
  7. iamthefreman

    I am not a basketball fan at all, but how sad to hear this. Way too young to go.

    May 12, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  8. groosfabba

    Go home and hug the ones you love, I'm watching a family bury they're second daughter tomorrow within 2 months of each other. Someone as young as him should not have to be buried by they're parents, my prayers go out to his family, may peace reach they're hearts, and also for the LaBarge family.

    May 12, 2011 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
  9. KB

    I had a few friends (Alvin Brown & Chris Small), that played ball (Basketball), die from a heart attack. We as athletes have to watch what we eat/died and live a healthy life.

    May 16, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Miguel

    You say dousing the sturutrce in both gasoline and kerosene, I say dropped off some building supplies. Really, aren't they the same thing? Then Matt also dropped off a lit match, cause that's supplies too. No conflict there. All a big misunderstanding.

    July 11, 2012 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
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