Clippers announcers apologize for mocking deceased ex-NBA player

Look, announcing sporting events is a tricky business. You’re working out there on a wire with no net, being watched by a hungry social media-enabled nation ready to pounce on your every misspoken word. Even so, you still have to bring a bit of awareness to the table.

During Monday night’s game, the Los Angeles Clippers ran a graphic highlighting the 1998 draft-day trade that sent Dirk Nowitzki and Pat Garrity from the Milwaukee Bucks to the Mavericks in return for former Michigan standout Robert “Tractor” Traylor. It’s one of the worst trades in NBA history, obviously, but the Clippers’ FOX Sports Prime Ticket team, Ralph Lawler and Michael Smith, piled on by saying that Traylor is now playing for the “Detroit YMCA over 40 league.”

Well, no. Traylor died in 2011 at the age of 34 of a heart attack.

The announcers both apologized later in the game, and that should be that ... an unfortunate joke that they obviously wouldn’t have made had they known Traylor’s tragic story.

Traylor never produced at the level expected when he was a lottery pick. A star at Michigan in the post-Fab Five era, he never averaged more than 5.7 points per game while playing for the Bucks, Cavs, and Charlotte and New Orleans iterations of the Hornets.

On the plus side, the Clippers broadcast featured a nice breakdown of a much happier moment: honoring Nowitzki at the end of the game.

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Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at jay.busbee@yahoo.comor find him on Twitter or on Facebook.

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