Mark Eaton, a former NBA star who played his entire career with the Utah Jazz, died Friday night, the team announced. He was 64.
The Jazz didn’t declare a cause of death. According to KUTV, Eaton abandoned his home in Summit County, Utah, for a bicycle ride around 8 p.m. local time and never returned. The channel reported there was no foul play suspected but his cause of death was unknown.
Utah chosen the 7-foot-4 Eaton in the fourth round of the 1982 NBA Draft from UCLA. He performed for Utah from 1982 to 1993. He was a five-time All-Defensive First Team choice, a four-time block champion, two-time Defensive Player of the Year and has been named to an All-Star group after.
He completed his career with 3,064 blocks. He’s fifth all-time in that class behind Hakeem Olajuwon, Dikembe Mutombo, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Artis Gilmore. He and Tree Rollins are the only former players at the top 10 in career blocks that are not in the Hall of Fame. In addition, he holds the record for most blocks in a year with 456.
Following his career was over, Eaton was a motivational speaker and a writer. He mentored current Jazz center Rudy Gobert.
“I will text Rudy on event and tell him that your job is to guard the whole team. The paint is the house. Do not let anyone in there,” Eaton told the Jazz’s website in 2019. “I love watching him. He’s so arousing.”
Eaton’s death sparked tributes on social networking.
Utah retired his No. 53 jersey during the 1995-96 season.