Fri, Apr 10, 2009 - Page 20 News List

Former NBA star found dead in Tulsa hotel room

NY TIMES NEWS SERVICE , NEW YORK

Marvin Webster, the shot-blocking center known as the “Human Eraser,” who took the Seattle SuperSonics to the 1978 NBA finals then spent six seasons with the Knicks, was found dead on Monday in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He was 56.A

The Tulsa police said that Webster’s body was found at his room in the Ambassador Hotel and that there was no indication of anything suspicious.

W. Charles Bennett, of Albuquerque, Webster’s former player agent and later his financial adviser, said the preliminary cause of death was coronary artery disease. He said that Webster had been living at the hotel and that he was hospitalized a month ago for liver problems related to hepatitis incurred during his college years.

Webster gained his nickname when he averaged eight blocked shots a game while taking Morgan State University of Baltimore, his hometown, to the 1974 NCAA Division II championship as a junior. He averaged 21 points and 22.4 rebounds and was named Division II player of the year.

Webster made his pro debut in 1975 with the Denver Nuggets, playing in the American Basketball Association before the Nuggets joined the National Basketball Association in the two leagues’ merger the next year.

After two seasons in Denver, Webster joined the SuperSonics and turned in what would be his best pro season, averaging 14 points and 12.6 rebounds as Seattle went to the seventh game of the 1978 championship final before losing to the Washington Bullets.

He announced his retirement in December 1985.

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