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Robert 'Tractor' Traylor found dead

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Former University of Michigan basketball player Robert "Tractor" Traylor was found dead in his apartment in Puerto Rico, his team confirmed Wednesday.


Traylor, 34, died of an apparent heart attack. At 6-feet-8 and over 300 pounds, he had battled weight problems for many years and underwent a heart procedure in 2005.


Traylor had been playing in the Puerto Rican league for first-place Bayamon. He averaged 8.1 points and 6.3 rebounds, but had missed the Vaqueros' last four games. He last played on April 26.


As a junior at Detroit Murray-Wright High School, Traylor had 17 points and 12 rebounds in the 1994 Class A championship game, helping the Pilots upset Mr. Basketball Willie Mitchell and two-time champion Detroit Pershing. The next year, he was named Mr. Basketball and joined Kevin Garnett, Vince Carter and Paul Pierce on the McDonald's All-American team.


Traylor moved on to become a star at Michigan, but his time with the program came at a heavy cost for the Wolverines.


On the court, Traylor immediately became a fan favorite at Crisler Arena. Early in his freshman season, he shattered a backboard with a fast-break dunk against Ball State. He led the Wolverines to the 1997 NIT championship and was named the tournament's MVP, then picked up the same award as Michigan won the 1998 Big Ten tournament.


All of those records have been erased from the Michigan record books, though, because of Traylor's links to booster Ed Martin.


Traylor was involved in a highly publicized rollover car accident during his freshman year (1995-96) at Michigan. The crash came during a recruiting visit by Mateen Cleaves (who ended up choosing Michigan State), and triggered an extensive investigation into the Michigan basketball program and its ties to Martin.


It eventually came out that Martin loaned $616,000 to Traylor, Chris Webber, Maurice Taylor and Louis Bullock, and the investigation caused Michigan to forfeit every game Traylor played, as well as the NIT and Big Ten tournament titles.


In his three years as a Wolverine, he averaged 13.3 points and 8.2 rebounds in 91 games.


Traylor left Michigan early to enter the 1998 NBA draft. He was the sixth pick overall by Dallas but was traded to Milwaukee in a deal that sent Dirk Nowitzki to the Mavericks - a move widely considered one of the most lopsided trades in NBA history.


Traylor played in the NBA for seven years, through the 2004-05 season, with the Bucks, Cleveland Cavaliers and Charlotte/New Orleans Hornets.


In 2007, Traylor received three years of probation for income-tax fraud in a case involving a convicted drug dealer. He pled guilty to falsely reporting that he had purchased rental properties that actually belonged to his cousin, Quasand Lewis. Lewis was sentenced to 18 years in prison in 2006 for a marijuana-trafficking ring.


In recent years, he has played in Turkey and Italy as well as Puerto Rico.


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Not trying to jump to conclusions but sounds like another pro player who let his overweight kill him. What sad is that he was only in mid-30's. Traylor had a very good college carrer but at best he been a 'journeyman' player in pro hoops. Thought he was retired.

Also heard another former player this time in the NFL, William 'the fridge' Perry who is in serious health trouble caused by being too 'fat.'


Another proof that obesity is killing people in America at a faster rate than say even cancer, AIDS or other long time killers.

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I always thought that was one of the cooler nicknames in sports; "Tractor Traylor".... I remember him back on Michigan, but I don't remember him playing in the NBA....


As big as dude was, it reminds me of when Oliver Miller used to play; he was around that size; 6'8, 300+ pounds as well...

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