Robert Traylor, the man many called "Tractor," fit his larger-than-life nickname. And as such, after being found dead in Puerto Rico at the age of 34, many memories are pouring out for him.
Indiana head coach Tom Crean, an assistant coach at Michigan State who recruited Traylor and then coached against him during Traylor's career at Michigan, took to Twitter to share some stories. Crean called Traylor's passing "sad, sad news", and said that he "will remember a guy with just as big a heart as his size" as part of a remembrance that spanned more than a dozen tweets; his feed is worth reading in full.
Terry Foster, the Detroit News writer who popularized the "Tractor" nickname for Traylor while he was a plus-sized prep star, sent out a tweet, too.
Yahoo!'s Dan Wetzel wrote possibly the single best column on Traylor in 2007, in the wake of a childhood friend's arrest on a slew of drug charges, with accusations flying that Traylor helped fund a kingpin, maybe unwittingly, and after Traylor's own conviction for tax fraud. Through it all, Traylor was happy, and vibrant.
Traylor, his wife and two children might live in West Bloomfield, but he is a constant back in his old neighborhood, where his mom continues to live. At least twice a year, he throws a big block party, complete with inflatable trampolines, kids games, barbeque and in the summer, a fireworks display. Traylor sometimes even mans the grill himself, just like grandma.
"He's just real nice," said Wanda Nelson as she swept the street outside her home. "He comes back and does a lot for the community. I knew him when he was young. He's always been smiling."
The smile, like Traylor, could seem larger than life.