SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — Utah Jazz fans spent Saturday’s NBA playoff game three of round one against the Memphis Grizzlies during a watch party paying tribute to the former Utah Jazz All-Star center and 2-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year Mark Eaton.
As ABC4 previously reported, the Jazz said that police said Eaton was found lying in the road around 8:30 p.m. Friday after apparently crashing his bike in Summit County, Utah.
He was 64 years old.
Before Saturday’s watch party, the Utah Jazz asked for a moment of silence to remember 7-foot-4 inch blocking king.
Thousands of people walked into Vivint Arena Saturday which meant there were thousands of people who had of stories about Eaton.
“We gotta win tonight for him,” said Vince Hansen.
“He was just an amazing big guy and I think more big guys need to be like that,” said James Hadlock. “We need to bring back the power of the big guy.”
Eaton was absolutely the big guy. He is tied for the 10th tallest NBA player of all time.
Eaton was also a loyal guy as spent his whole NBA career, 11 years, with the Utah Jazz.
“So I went down in the arena into the tunnel and all that and I met Mark Eaton,” said Paul Richards.
Richards is a lifelong Jazz fan.
“I was a little bit bigger than this guy and he signed my basketball so I’ll always remember that,” said Richards.
There were many other lifelong Jazz fans who also shared their memories of Eaton with ABC 4.
“I live in Summit County and you see him around and he was genuinely a sweet, good hearted guy,” said Keani DiBerardino.
“I did get to meet him once and he was very very nice,” said Hansen. “I mean the game back then, the guys were the beasts so I do remember him being a beast.”
During game three of round one of the NBA playoffs, the Jazz honored Eaton, looked back on his career and had a moment of silence.
Inside of Vivint Arena was a moment for all Jazz fans to reflect on one of the most dominant big men in Jazz history.
He is 4th all time in blocks in the NBA.
He is #53 Mark Eaton.
“The big guy game back in that era was different and he set the tone for how to be a big man and i respect him for that,” said Zack Hansen.