Raise your hand if you remember Robert “Tractor” Traylor. For those of you whose hands are at their sides, let me refresh you. Traylor was a McDonald’s high-school All-American the same year as Kevin Garnett, Vince Carter and Paul Pierce. At the University of Michigan, Traylor’s impressive size (6’8″, and north of 300 pounds) helped lead the Wolverines to the 1997 NIT title and was named the tournament’s MVP. Traylor cemented his status as a big-time big body in his junior year when he averaged 16.2 points and 10 rebounds while leading his team to the inaugural Big Ten Tournament championship.
After his career at Michigan (which ended under some controversy and NCAA sanctions for the Wolverines) Traylor was drafted by the Dallas Mavericks with the sixth overall pick in the 1998 NBA Draft, after which he was promptly traded to the Milwaukee Bucks for one guy you never heard of (Pat Garrity), and one guy you may know (Dirk Nowitzki). Traylor’s NBA career also included stints with the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Charlotte/New Orleans Hornets, and even a failed trade to the New Jersey Nets. The stat line showed Traylor as a 14.3 minutes, 47% from the field, and 3.7 total rebounds per game.
Traylor’s planet-like girth also carried him tto the world of global hoops; teams like Antalya Kepez Belediyesi in the Turkish league, NSB Napoli in the Italian league, Halcones UV Xalapa in the Mexican league, and Cangrejeros de Santurce and Bayamon Cowboys in Puerto Rican league all got to have 5XL uniforms made to fit the “Tractor.”
Sadly, the “Tractor” passed away in 2011, but the first weekend of this NCAA Basketball Tournament showed us several guys who could easily match up to Traylor’s carriage. The trouble is that all of the guys we found in this yearr’ tournament have already had their “March Madness come to an end. So, in case you missed them, here are the five starters on our All-“Tractor” Traylor Memorial team.
The Alanis Morrisette-level irony is that as heavy as this team is, it is also not-so-shockingly light on guards.
1) Sim Bhullar, New Mexico State, 7″5″, 360
In a July 2011 profile of Bhullar, The New York Times stated he “is poised to become the world’s first prominent men’s basketball player of Indian descent” and could be the “next great basketball ambassador” to Asia since Chinese star Yao Ming.
2) Tanveer Bhullar, New Mexico State, 7’3″, 335
Guess who might be brothers with another guy on this list? That’s right, Tanveer is the brother of Sim, the only other Canadian on this list. While they are of Indian descent, they were both born in Toronto. This might make them the most famous Canadian brothers since Bob and Doug MacKenzie.
3) BeeJay Anya, North Carolina State, 6’9″, 325
Anya was recruited by Duke, Georgetown, Indiana, Kansas, North Carolina, Ohio State, Texas, Virginia, Virginia Tech, and West Virginia, but was ultimately landed by North Carolina State, largely because the Raleigh campus is rumored to be building a Wal-Mart sized cafeteria.
4) J.J. Davenport, Louisiana-Lafayette, 6’6″, 325
Last year when Davenport was still at Hobbs (New Mexico) Junior College, that easily could have made New Mexico the world’s capital of enormous hoopsters. Apparently, it was the lack of a Popeye’s franchise in Hobbs that sent Davenport back to the land of the Ragin’ Cajun.
5) Cameron Ridley, 6’9″, 285, Texas
Listed at 285 pound makes Ridley the lightest member of this team. However, we all know that listing in home-produced programs have the accuracy and integrity of a Guatemalan election. However, the “floor-creak” scale never lies, and I’m guessing Ridley tips in at more like 315 by that measure.