Professional sports are truly the “Toy-Box Of Life” however unfortunately every once in a while reality sticks its ugly head in to disrupt the party. The latest incident of that occurring took place on Wednesday as the “Associated Press” and “ESPN.com” reported that former NBA big man Robert “Tractor” Traylor was found dead in his apartment of an apparent heart attack at the tender age of 34. Taylor was living in San Juan, Puerto Rico at the time of his passing and was a member of the Puerto Rican basketball team Vaqueros de Bayamon. The former NBA player was not on the active roster of the squad as he attempting to come back from a heel injury.
“The Trac” played in two tours of duty for the Cleveland Cavaliers and I got to know him pretty well during his time with the team during my days covering the Cavaliers as a radio beat reporter. Although Taylor battled every time he was on the floor he truly was the epitome of a “Gentle Giant” when dealing with the media after games. He was an intelligent and articulate young man who truly had a lot of patience and answered each question without a hint of rancor.
Taylor spent seven seasons in the Association playing for Charlotte Hornets, the Dallas Mavericks and the Milwaukee Bucks as well as his time playing for Cleveland. He averaged 4.8 points and 3.7 rebounds during his NBA career which was marred by injury. The big man who was selected number six in the 1998 NBA Draft by the Mavericks underwent a procedure to correct a problem with his heart in 2005.
I enjoyed a great working relationship with “The Trac” during his time with the Cavaliers and was truly shocked by the news of his passing. My condolences go out to his family and friends in their time of need. I would also like to convey that Traylor will always be thought of kindly by this member of the media.