April 9, 2009
Hoops pro for 10 years
Marvin Webster, 56, a former NBA player known as the "Human Eraser" for his shot-blocking ability during a 10-year pro basketball career, was found dead Monday morning in a hotel bathtub in Tulsa, Okla.
Foul play is not suspected and the death apparently stemmed from an illness, said police spokesman Jason Willingham.
The 7-foot-1 former center had been living at the Ambassador Hotel and employees grew concerned after not seeing him for several days, police said. The medical examiner's office said the cause of death has not been determined.
Known for his fierce defense and rebounding, Webster helped lead the Seattle SuperSonics to the 1978 NBA Finals. He signed with the Knicks the following season and played six years in New York.
After playing 333 consecutive games, Webster missed the next two seasons because of hepatitis before making a failed comeback with Milwaukee during the 1986-87 season. He played in 15 games as a Bucks reserve before retiring.
For his career, Webster averaged 7.1 points and 7.0 rebounds. His first pro season was with Denver of the American Basketball Assn. in 1975, and he was on the team the following year when the Nuggets joined the National Basketball Assn.
His best statistical year came with Seattle in 1978, when he averaged 14 points and finished ninth in the NBA with 12.6 rebounds and 1.9 blocks a game. The SuperSonics lost the finals to Washington in seven games that year, one season before winning their only NBA title.
Webster was born April 13, 1952, in Baltimore. He led his college team, Morgan State University, to the NCAA Division II national championship in 1975.
His son, Marvin Webster Jr., played college basketball at Temple University but died during his sophomore year at age 18 after a heart attack.
-- times staff and wire reports firstname.lastname@example.org
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