Sad news out of Utah Jazz nation Saturday morning as it was learned that two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year Mark Eaton has died at age 64. The 7'4" Eaton spent his entire 12-year career with Utah, batting with the likes of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Hakeem Olajuwon and others. Eaton was found unconscious after an apparent bicycle crash Friday night in Park City and died a short time later. No foul play is suspected. He was in attendance at Vivint Arena for the Jazz's Game 2 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies Wednesday night. The night before, Eaton was in Chicago and attended umpire Joe West's record setting 5,376rd game. Although not in the Pro Basketball Hall of Fame, the UCLA alumnus and former fourth-round draft pick ranks fifth all-time in NBA blocked shots with 3,064, including a record setting 456 rejections in 1984-85.
Eaton's passing sadly and ironically comes just months after longtime NBA center Shawn Bradley was paralyzed in a bicycle accident in St. George, Utah. Eaton's No. 53 is one of seven players (along with owner Larry Miller and coaches Frank Layden and Jerry Sloan) retired by the Jazz organization.