Robert ‘Tractor’ Traylor 2 blocks & dunk on Ratliff – Why Dirk was traded for him
Robert Tractor Traylor died in 2011 and most hoop fans don’t have any memories of him unless they were lucky enough to watch him play college ball at Michigan where him, Maceo Baston and Mo Taylor were dunking on any and everybody. The only thing that a lot of hoops fans might know is the answer to the popular trivia question “Who did the Mavs draft at #6 and then trade to the Bucks for Dirk Nowitzki & Pat Garrity?” Yes, the answer is the 300+ pound Tractor Traylor.
Before you start going off on the Bucks for trading Dirk for a player that never averaged over 6 points & 5 rebounds per game, you have to remember that a lot of people thought Don Nelson was crazy to give up the lottery pick for the unproven German with a horrible haircut. Charles Barkley thought it was a great idea but after a few months people, Slam Mag included, were pointing out that Barkley was nuts for thinking so highly of Dirk.
Traylor only averaged 5 ppg his rookie season but that was only 3 points less than Dirk’s rookie average. In their defense, Dirk had Michael Finley, Cedric Ceballos and Gary Trent on his team that were all averaging in double figures and Shawn Bradley, AC Green and Samaki Walker were taking up bigman minutes. Over in Milwaukee, Tractor had Tyrone Hill and Ervin Johnson grabbing the boards and no scoring help was needed with the Big Dog, Sam I Am & Jesus on the team.
The next season it was a very different story. Dirk was becoming an offensive threat and increased his scoring and rebounding average every year for 4 years straight. During those 4 years, Tractor bounced around the league in multiple trades. His best stretch of his career came in Cleveland in 2001. He was limited by foul trouble but when he played he made the most of his minutes but when he played he made an impact on the offensive and defensive end. He also looked quicker than he did in previous years as evident in the video above.
His NBA career ended shortly after and Tractor played overseas in Turkey, Italy and Mexico before ending up Puerto Rico. He played 10 games with that team before being shut down due to another foot injury. He died of a heart attack later that season.
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