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. Ken

    RIP Tractor....

    May 11, 2011 at 10:17 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Kevin Urbanek

    G'bye friend. As a life long Cavs fan I got to see him play for my team and I thoroughly enjoyed his presence on the court. He had a big personality and I was sorry to see him leave the team. Thoughts of him playing always bring a smile to my heart; I wish I could have told him how much that meant to me.

    May 11, 2011 at 10:30 pm | Report abuse |
  3. EastOakland

    R.i.p. Tractor Traylor

    May 11, 2011 at 11:11 pm | Report abuse |
  4. CM25

    You think Mallory Simon and CNN's John Fricke would show some respect for the man and refrain from including the link "SOME MICHIGAN FANS IN THE 1990S MIGHT REMEMBER HIM FOR OTHER REASONS." Very classy you two.

    May 11, 2011 at 11:34 pm | Report abuse |
  5. angel

    Very sad indeed! R.I.P T.T

    May 12, 2011 at 1:03 am | Report abuse |
  6. JehseaLynn

    It is a tremendous loss, at the age of 34. The "Tractor" Traylor will surely be missed. While I agree his missteps in the '90s could have been ignored, their inclusion lends context to why he currently played in Puerto Rico, and did show him as a three-dimensional human being, something we often forget to do by lionizing our athletes. I think it was the right thing to do – casting a big man in the fullness of his own shadow. RIP Traylor.

    May 12, 2011 at 1:09 am | Report abuse |
  7. samanthafisher

    R.i.p.that is so sad and it was a short life well i guess we can say god loaned him to us for a while and he wanted him back... I know thru out his family and friends he will be miss but keep your head up and stay on the right track so u can see him again..... From a little birdy

    May 12, 2011 at 1:40 am | Report abuse |
  8. Balisticalx

    CPAPS SAVE LIVES, ESPECIALLY OF BIG PEOPLE WITH BAD HEARTS

    May 12, 2011 at 2:36 am | Report abuse |
  9. VegasFreeMasonontwiter

    Rest In Peace Brother. To the people of Puerto Rico, thanks for showing this brother love. It's hard being a black man in America, but I am sure this gentleman appreciated all the love you showed him.

    Charell Williams

    May 12, 2011 at 3:39 am | Report abuse |
  10. Fan

    I'm so shocked!!! Rest In Peace Robert...

    May 12, 2011 at 4:53 am | Report abuse |
  11. Kneehall

    I randomly ran into Tractor at a Mexican restaurant in San Juan, PR around this time last year. I was pretty excited to meet him since I lived in Michigan the time he played. I talked to him for a few minutes and he took a pic with me, my wife and my cousin. He was very pleasant and gracious that we acknowledged him from the U of M days and the NBA. I asked him how his health was and he said he was doing good and trying to stay in good shape. Thanks Robert for being a down to earth guy! May your family find peace at this time....thanks for the memories!

    May 12, 2011 at 5:02 am | Report abuse |
  12. nick

    Yup

    May 12, 2011 at 5:13 am | Report abuse |
  13. Kenny

    He played for the love of the game rather than the riches. He was the little kid in the "Grown-ups" body. To bad other professional players today can't play for the love of the game.

    May 12, 2011 at 5:43 am | Report abuse |
  14. lioness2luv

    Prayers lifted for this young mans' family's loss. Respect due Remembering Tractor as a NBA Player. Thanks Puerto Rico,for recognizing talent and having Tractor do what he loved. RIP Robert Taylor.

    May 12, 2011 at 5:58 am | Report abuse |
  15. kyle

    A man against boys, he was able 2 manipulate the defense 2 play his style of ball.

    May 12, 2011 at 7:22 am | Report abuse |
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