Robert “Tractor” Traylor Dies

By Off the BASN Wire
Updated: May 11, 2011


Robert "Tractor" Traylor

Puerto Rico-Former University of Michigan basketball player Robert “Tractor” Traylor was found dead in his apartment in Puerto Rico, his Puerto Rican basketball club confirmed Wednesday.

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

Traylor, who attended Detroit Murray-Wright High, was involved in a highly publicized rollover car accident during his freshman year (1995-96) at Michigan. That accident, during a recruiting visit by prospect Mateen Cleaves (who ended up choosing Michigan State), triggered an extensive investigation into the Michigan basketball program that resulted in major violations.

Traylor was one of the Wolverines with ties to a booster, the late Ed Martin, who admitted to loaning money to players.

The highlight of Traylor’s career came during his junior season, when he was chosen Most Valuable Player of the Big Ten’s inaugural conference tournament in 1998 while leading the Wolverines to the championship.

However, the school later vacated the records of every game in which Traylor played at Michigan after the investigation.

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

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