Mark Edward Eaton is known to be one the greatest defensive basketball centers and he spent all his career playing for Utah Jazz. He was very important to their success as they were nowhere near the playoff spots but with Eaton, they became a regular playoff team. He was born in Inglewood, California on January 24, 1957. When he became a senior in high school, he was already 6’11 and the coaches did not know how to play him as he was not very muscular. He then first graduated as an automotive service technician, then due to a teacher asking him to join community college to pursue basketball, Eaton joined Cypress, after two years he transferred to UCLA where he did not get much game time. Eaton was frustrated with himself as he was slow, but the advice given by Wilt Chamberlain changed that and was the turning point. Due to him playing very little at UCLA, many teams did not want to get the defensive giant in their team, but Utah Jazz trusted him for a long-term project and was chosen by them as the seventy-second overall pick in the 1982 draft.
Making Utah a playoff team
Utah Jazz did not have the number thirty-five available, which Mark Eaton preferred as he was wearing that in UCLA, so he took the number fifty-three, and it has been retired to honor his legendary legacy forever. He made an immediate impact as he started thirty-two games in his rookie season. During the 1983-84 season, Utah Jazz made their first playoff appearance. Eaton was great throughout the regular season as Utah finished with a record of 45-37. Next season Eaton made a record for the most blocks in a single season. He had four hundred and fifty-six blocks during the season and shattered the previous record which was only three hundred and ninety-three. His blocks average was 5.56 that season. Eaton continued to make an impact in the basketball world and broke many defensive records during his eleven-year career. Eaton was a two-time defensive player of the year and was included in the all-defensive team five times during his career. He was also the blocks leader four times. One thing that was missing in his achievements was the NBA title, but even without the title he did a lot for the game and Utah Jazz. One can say he put Utah Jazz on the map for the work that he did on the court. He had to retire due to a back problem and his career was cut short.
After retirement and legacy
Mark Edward Eaton after retirement still helped the young players of the Utah Jazz and served as a mentor for them. His shot-blocking dedication and passion for the game made him a legend in the NBA. Young basketball players who are tall can learn a lot from him. Free sports picks websites have Eaton ranked in the top five big men in Utah Jazz history.