TULSA, Okla. – Marvin Webster, a fierce shot-blocking center who helped lead the Seattle SuperSonics to the 1978 NBA finals, was found dead in a hotel bathtub. He was 56.
His body was discovered in his room Monday morning in the downtown Ambassador Hotel, police said Wednesday.
Foul play is not suspected and the death apparently stemmed from an illness, police spokesman Jason Willingham said. He added that the former 7-foot-1 center had been living at the hotel and employees grew concerned after not seeing him for several days.
The medical examiner office said the cause of death has not been determined.
Known as "The Human Eraser," Webster spent nine seasons in the NBA. He averaged 16.1 points during the SuperSonics' playoff run in 1978. 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. He played in college at Morgan State and his first pro season was with Denver of the ABA in 1975. He also played with the Nuggets after they joined the NBA the following year.
His best statistical year came with Seattle, when he averaged 14 points and finished ninth in the NBA with 12.6 rebounds and 1.9 blocks a game. The Sonics lost the finals to Washington in seven games that year, one season before winning their only NBA title.
His son, Marvin Webster Jr., played college basketball at Temple but died during his sophomore year at 18 after a heart attack.