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Mark Eaton, Former Jazz Center and 2-Time NBA DPOY, Dies at 64

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVMay 29, 2021

Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

Longtime Utah Jazz center Mark Eaton died this weekend at the age of 64.

The Jazz confirmed Eaton's death to Andy Larsen of the Salt Lake Tribune.

utahjazz @utahjazz

We are heartbroken by the passing of Utah Jazz legend Mark Eaton. <br><br>Our thoughts are with his family as we all mourn the loss of a great man, mentor, athlete and staple of the community. pic.twitter.com/HkINyLF9ix

According to KUTV's Cristina Flores and Davis James, sources close to Eaton said he went for a bike ride Friday night and never returned.

Flores and James noted that while the cause of death isn't yet known, no foul play is suspected.

Larsen tweeted a statement from the Summit County (Utah) Sheriff's Office on Saturday that confirmed the KUTV report:

Andy Larsen @andyblarsen

Press release from Summit County Sheriff on Mark Eaton: pic.twitter.com/hkwsiJpgvf

The sheriff's office wrote that police arrived on the scene after receiving a call about an unconscious man lying in the roadway. It was noted that Eaton appeared to have crashed his bike, and he was later pronounced dead at the hospital.

Eaton spent his entire 11-year NBA career with the Jazz, earning one All-Star nod and two NBA Defensive Player of the Year awards.

                       

After playing sparingly in college at UCLA, Eaton was a fourth-round pick by the Jazz in the 1982 NBA draft, but he quickly became a defensive force.

Eaton was a four-time block champion, including in 1984-85 when he averaged 5.6 blocks per game, which remains a single-season NBA record.

Aside from his huge block numbers, Eaton also set career highs in scoring (9.7 points per game), rebounding (11.3 per game) and assists (1.5 per game) in 1984-85.

The 7'4" big man was named NBA Defensive Player of the Year that season and went on to win the award again in 1989.

Eaton was also a three-time NBA All-Defensive First Team and two-time NBA All-Defensive Second Team selection in addition to getting his jersey No. 53 retired by the Jazz.

Overall, Eaton appeared in 875 career regular-season games and posted averages of 6.0 points, 7.9 rebounds, 3.5 blocks and 1.0 assist, while shooting 45.8 percent from the field.

Eaton is fourth on the NBA's all-time blocks list with 3,064, and his 3.5 blocks per game is the best mark in NBA history.

Originally from Westminster, California, Eaton made his home in Summit County, Utah, after retiring from the NBA in 1993, and he established himself as a motivational speaker, per KUTV.

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