Dallas Mavericks

Tractor's Death An Eye-Opener: To Mavs Fans and a Former Mav Star

While we anxiously await the Mavs' NBA Western Conference Final opponent -- looks like the Thunder -- a couple of matters that get, well, right to the heart of the matter.

Was talking to Mark Aguirre last week in the wake of his recent health scare. Aguirre, the first overall pick in the 1981 draft and the Mavs' third all-time leading scorer behind Dirk Nowitzki and Rolando Blackman, was on a treadmill at Lifetime Fitness in Plano when he suddenly collapsed and was subsequently rushed to the hospital.

Heart attack? At only 51?

Nope. But close. Arrhythmia, in which somehow the heart's beat gets off rhythm. A simple jolt from a defibrillator and -- voila -- Aguirre is already working out again and attending Mavs playoff games in general manager Donnie Nelson's suite.

"I'm a blessed man," says Aguirre. "There's no heart attack. No blockage or anything. It was scary, but I'm cool now."

Sadly, that wasn't the case for a former -- sorta -- Mavericks forward.

Back in 1998 the Mavs technically drafted Robert "Tractor" Traylor, but only for the purposes of trading him to the Milwaukee Bucks for Pat Garrity and a German teenager named Dirk Nowitzki.

Dirk has scored more than 23,000 points.

After scoring only 2,000 in the NBA, Traylor was playing in Puerto Rico when he died this week at age 34 of an apparent heart attack.

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Richie Whitt
Contact: Richie Whitt