Robert Tractor Traylor: Former NBA Player Found Dead from Apparent Heart Attack

Tom KinslowFeatured ColumnistMay 11, 2011

13 Dec 1997:  Center Robert Traylor of the Michigan Wolverines looks on during a game against the Duke Blue Devils at Crisler Arena in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  Michigan won the game 81-73. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Stockman  /Allsport
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Robert Traylor, a former NBA player who had stints with Milwaukee, Cleveland and New Orleans, has been found dead after suffering what is believed to have been a heart attack. Traylor was 34.

The big man broke into the league in 1998, when he was the sixth overall pick, taken by the Dallas Mavericks, who then traded him for Dirk Nowitzki. Despite his hype coming into the league, Traylor never amounted to much in the league, finishing with career averages of 4.8 points and 3.7 rebounds.

In 2005, Traylor had offseason surgery on his aorta, and with his massive size, it's not shocking that this happened to the big man, but it doesn't make it any less tragic.

This is a player who had a great career at Michigan, but struggled with his weight and obesity all of his life and just couldn't drop the weight, putting him at extreme risk for health issues.

Prior to his NBA career, Traylor thrived at Michigan and ended up in the Ed Martin booster scandal that helped bring down the Wolverine's basketball program.

Traylor died in Puerto Rico, where he was playing at the time, and it's just so sad that someone who was so gifted was taken away in what should have been the prime of his life. In today's society, Traylor should become a cautionary tale as to what can happen to if you don't find a way to battle obesity.

In the end, this is another tragic story of the sports world losing someone way too early. My condolences go out to his friends and family.