Mark Eaton, a former Utah Jazz player and the NBA Defensive Player of the Year in 1984-5 and 1988-9 has died at 64.
Eaton was found unconscious on Long Rifle Road near his home in Summit County Friday evening, May 28, 2021, following an apparent bike crash. Medical personnel arrived at the scene and Eaton was transported to a nearby hospital where he died. The Summit County Sheriff’s Office said there were no witnesses to the crash and no reason to believe a vehicle was involved in the incident. The Utah Office of the Medical Examiner will determine the cause of Eaton’s death.
“The Utah Jazz are profoundly saddened at the unexpected passing of Mark Eaton, who was an enduring figure in our franchise history and had a significant impact in the community after his basketball career,” the team wrote. “Mark played his entire 11-year NBA career with the Jazz and his number was retired as an NBA All-Star and two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year,” the Utah Jazz said in a statement. “His presence continued around the organization as a friend and ambassador while giving back as a businessman and volunteer to his adopted hometown in Utah. We extend our deepest condolences to his wife Teri and their extended family. Mark will be greatly missed by all of us with the Jazz.”
The Jazz also provided the following background about Mark Eaton:
Mark Eaton, 1957-2021, played his entire NBA career (1982-93) with the Utah Jazz. The 7-4 center out of UCLA was drafted by the Jazz in the fourth round of the 1984 NBA Draft. In his 11 NBA seasons, he appeared in 875 games, totaling 5,216 points, 6,939 rebounds and 3,064 blocked shots (fourth-most in NBA history). He led the league in blocks in 1984, ’85, ’87, and ’88.
Eaton was a two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year (1985 and 1989), a 1989 NBA All-Star and was named to five All-Defensive teams (three First Team and two Second Team honors). One of the best defensive players in NBA history, Eaton holds the NBA record for most blocks in a season (456) and career average blocked shots per game (3.50).
After Eaton retired from the game in 1993, he only further established himself as a member of the Salt Lake community. Eaton owned two restaurants, Tuscany’s and Franck’s in Holladay. He also became an author and a motivational speaker.
Eaton’s #53 jersey was retired by the Utah Jazz during the 1995-96 season.
The Jazz also shared the following tweets:
Remembering number 53 ❤️https://t.co/HcZdNIrniT
— utahjazz (@utahjazz) May 29, 2021