Sad news out of Isla Verde, Puerto Rico this morning, as former Michigan PF Robert DeShaun “Tractor” Traylor (above, right), a 7 year NBA vet and the 6th overall pick in the 1998 draft, has passed away at the age of 34 after an apparent heart attack. Traylor, whose last flirtation with the NBA came when he flunked a physical with the Nets in 2006, is remembered by ESPN.com’s Eamonn Brennan :
Any college hoops fan older than, say, 21, will never forget the name “Tractor” Traylor. It was the most fitting possible term for its namesake, this hulking mass of a man who physically imposed his will on defenders with dominant ease. Perhaps no player in the history of the game was so simultaneously stout and athletic; it’s hard to recall a basketball player with the same mix of overwhelming size and surprisingly nimble speed.
Tractor Traylor planted on the block, caught the ball, and backed you down. Good luck stopping him. He was nearly as fearsome in the open court. No 6-foot-8, 300-pound human being should have been capable of what Traylor could do. He dribbled, passed, dunked, tore rims to shreds. He was the Tractor. Man, was the Tractor fun to watch.