In college, he broke backboards. In Milwaukee, he broke hearts. In Puerto Rico, his heart broke him. 34-year-old Robert “Tractor” Traylor was found dead on Wednesday.
He’ll be forever remembered in Milwaukee as the guy the Bucks got for Dirk Nowitzki, but I’ll at least partly remember him as the jolly guy who always helped carry off his injured teammates. Had he arrived in Milwaukee without the burden of being the number 6 pick in the draft, it’s entirely possible Milwaukee would have gravitated to him naturally.
When you’d see Traylor on the bench, spilling out of his uniform, often wearing a smile, it was easy to imagine him as the jolly fat guy who loved to eat and lacked the discipline to take care of himself. Especially when you fill in the details with his sketchy off the court decisions and the weight problem that he could never seem to get under his extra large thumb.
He’ll be remembered for what he never accomplished, but he should be remembered as a warning to young players both big and small. Sure, he’s the poster child for making sure you lay off the snacks, but it was his apparent nativity as a businessman that had him languishing in Puerto Rico instead of enjoying the millions he made in the NBA.
The NBA will mourn his loss, but players should not overlook his story.
Rest in peace Tractor, and wherever you may be now, here’s hoping you finally light it up, light it up.
Jeremy Schmidt writes the Milwaukee Bucks blog Bucksketball.com. Follow him on Twitter then become a fan on Facebook (on the right).