Robert Traylor

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Robert Traylor
Power forward / Center
Personal information
Born (1977-02-01)February 1, 1977
Detroit, Michigan
Died May 11, 2011(2011-05-11) (aged 34)
Isla Verde, Puerto Rico
Nationality American
Listed height 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m)
Listed weight 290 lb (132 kg)
Career information
High school Murray-Wright (Detroit, Michigan)
College Michigan (1995–1998)
NBA draft 1998 / Round: 1 / Pick: 6th overall
Selected by the Dallas Mavericks
Pro playing career 1998–2011
Career history
19982000 Milwaukee Bucks
2000–2001 Cleveland Cavaliers
20012004 Charlotte / New Orleans Hornets
2004–2005 Cleveland Cavaliers
2006 Gestibérica Vigo (Spain)
2007–2008 Santurce Crabbers (Puerto Rico)
2008–2009 Antalya Kepez Belediyesi (Turkey)
2009 NSB Napoli (Italy)
2010 Vaqueros de Bayamón (Puerto Rico)
2010–2011 Halcones UV Xalapa (Mexico)
2011 Vaqueros de Bayamón (Puerto Rico)
Career highlights and awards
  • NIT champion (1997)*
  • NIT Most Valuable Player (1997)*
* indicates awards retroactively forfeited
Career NBA statistics
Points 2,085 (4.8 ppg)
Rebounds 1,640 (3.7 rpg)
Blocks 306 (0.7 bpg)
Stats at Basketball-Reference.com

Robert DeShaun "Tractor" Traylor (February 1, 1977 – May 11, 2011) was an American professional basketball player.

High school and college[edit]

Traylor was a McDonald's All-American the same year as Kevin Garnett, Vince Carter and Paul Pierce. He attended the University of Michigan. Standing 6 feet 8 inches (2.03 m) and weighing in excess of 300 pounds, he joined a frontcourt for the Wolverines that included Maurice Taylor and Maceo Baston. That year he broke a backboard while dunking in a game against Ball State.[citation needed] Traylor helped lead the Wolverines to the 1997 National Invitation Tournament title, and was named the tournament's most valuable player. His junior year was his best, as he averaged 16.2 points and 10 rebounds while leading his team to the inaugural Big Ten Tournament championship and second round of the NCAA Tournament as a three seed.

Traylor was one of the former Michigan players whose ties to booster Ed Martin roiled the program. During his freshman year, Traylor broke his arm in a car accident while out with teammates and recruiting prospect Mateen Cleaves (who ended up going to rival Michigan State). That accident triggered a six-year investigation into the Wolverine program. Martin, who died in 2003 at 69, pleaded guilty in 2002 to conspiracy to launder money and told federal prosecutors he took gambling money, combined it with other funds and lent $616,000 to Traylor, Chris Webber and two other Wolverine players dating to when they were still in high school.[1] Traylor received three years' probation.[2]

Due to NCAA violations connected to the case (principally the compromising of the amateur status of Traylor, Webber and Taylor), Michigan withdrew from consideration for the 2003 NCAA tournament, lost scholarships and was placed on probation. The school also vacated the records of every game in which Traylor played from its record book. Traylor also had to surrender his MVP award for the 1997 NIT, as well as his MVP award from the 1998 Big Ten tournament.[citation needed] Murray-Wright High School in Detroit, where Traylor played high school basketball, voluntarily forfeited its entire 1994–95 season (Traylor's senior season).[citation needed]

NBA career[edit]

In the 1998 NBA Draft, Traylor was drafted by the Dallas Mavericks in the first round (with the sixth pick), then traded to the Milwaukee Bucks for Pat Garrity and German prospect Dirk Nowitzki.

In the 2005 offseason, Traylor had surgery on his aorta.[3] He then signed on with the New Jersey Nets for the 2005–06 NBA season, but—due to his failing a physical examination—the deal was scrapped.[2][4] Traylor battled weight problems throughout his career.

International career[edit]

Traylor played in Turkey for Antalya Kepez Belediyesi, in Italy with the Lega Basket Serie A club NSB Napoli,[5] in México for Halcones UV Xalapa, and in Puerto Rico with the Cangrejeros de Santurce and Bayamon Cowboys.[6] Traylor was selected as 2010 Defensive Player of the Year of Baloncesto Superior Nacional.[7] Traylor's last game was played on April 26, 2011 against San German, where he tallied five minutes of playing time with no points scored and two personal fouls.

Traylor's death[edit]

On May 11, 2011 Traylor was found dead at his apartment in Isla Verde, Puerto Rico. The cause of death was apparently a heart attack. Traylor was talking to his wife on the phone at the time. A connection was suddenly lost, at which point his wife alerted team officials to investigate.[8]

Former coach Paul Silas commented about Traylor's death, saying, "It's just a shock and hard to believe."[9]

References[edit]

Further information[edit]

External links[edit]