I have been a Mark Eaton fan since I was a kid. I was always pretty psyched when I would open up a pack of basketball cards and see his hairy face staring back at me, and don’t get me started on those short shorts that left little for the imagination.
Eaton grew up ashamed of his height and in school he focused more on water polo than on basketball. He finally began playing basketball in high school, but wasn’t even good enough to get off of the bench. However, his height (7’4”) got him noticed enough to play college ball. Oh, and before he played college basketball he worked as an auto mechanic.
Eaton made a name for himself at UCLA. UCLA is known for turning out big-time centers like Bill Walton and Eaton played there from 1980-1982. In his two years at UCLA he averaged 1.8 points per game. Seriously. He may have been the most offensively challenged player ever to get picked in the NBA Draft.
The Utah Jazz made Eaton the 72nd pick in 1982 draft. He debuted as a 26-year-old rookie and blocked 275 shots while scoring 351 points. No one pushed the block to points ratio quite like ol’ Mark Eaton. Eaton would be the starting center in Utah for 11 seasons and he was the league leader in blocks four times including an NBA record 456 in the 1984-85 season.
The big center was named to the All-Star team only once in his career but was the Defensive Player of the Year twice and made the All Defensive team five times. He retired following the 1992-93 season, having spent his entire career in Utah with the Jazz.
Eaton has spent his retirement calling games for the Jazz and the University of Utah. He has also helped out many organizations serving the youth of Utah. Just a real class act.
There has also been some buzz about a possible Mark Eaton movie. I really need this movie to happen.