The most intimidating shot-blocking force of 1980s NBA basketball was Utah Jazz center, Mark Eaton. UCLA product had the great wingspan of 90 inches and nice timing to go along with his 7’4” frame.
Throughout the 1980s Eaton led the League in the blocked shots category as many as four times (1983-84, 1984-85, 1986-87, 1987-88) intimidating opponents across the NBA at will.
Eaton’s dominating inside play on the defensive end earned him the selection to NBA All-Defensive First Team three times (1985, 1986, 1989) and NBA All-Defensive Second Team (1987, 1988).
But the Sultan of Swat wasn’t one dimensional player at all – for the career lefty center also averaged 9.9 boards and 7.5 points for the squad which featured future Hall of Famers John Stockton and Karl Malone.
One of the most memorable games of Mark Eaton’s career came on December 20th, 1986 in Chicago Stadium, when the Jazz faced improving Bulls led by their superstar in the making – Michael Jordan.
Eaton completely dominated the paint on both ends of the floor on a way to triple-double – 16 points, 13 boards, and 10 blocked shots! He also deflected numerous Bulls shot attempts and secured the hard fought 91-89 Jazz win by stealing the ball away from MJ on a key possession!
For the 11-year career, playing exclusively for the Utah Jazz, Eaton collected incredible 3064 blocked shots over 875 regular season games, which accounts for an average of 4.4 blocks per game. He was less effective in ten postseasons with the Jazz – he blocked 210 shots over the course of 74 games for an average of 2.8 blocks per game.
1985 and 1989 NBA Defensive Player of the Year also appeared in the 1989 NBA All-Star Game in Houston contributing five boards and two blocked shots to Western Conference selection’s W.
Murray A. a.k.a. Marjan Crnogaj is a BN contributor. The 1980s and 1990s basketball specialist is also proud to be the author of the TOP 100 basketball biography ‘Drazen – The Years of the Dragon’ (‘Drazen – Godine Zmaja’) which reveals the yet untold details from the life and career of the legendary NBA shooting guard Drazen Petrovic. He resides in Zagreb, Croatia, working on his third book which tells the untold story of the 1989 Green Card Five.