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Friday, August 29, 2008

Kevin Duckworth

Kevin Jerome Duckworth (April 1, 1964August 25, 2008) was an American professional basketball player at center in the National Basketball Association, most notably as a member of the Portland Trail Blazers.[edit] Early life and careerDuckworth was born in Harvey, Illinois and grew up in Chicago, where he played basketball at Thornridge High School.[1] He attended Eastern Illinois University (EIU), where he set a university record of 867 rebounds, a record that still held at the time of his death.[1]He also led EIU to the Mid-Continent Conference Tournament Championship in 1985 and was the Conference Player of the Year in 1986.[1]Duckworth was the ninth pick in the 2nd round of the 1986 NBA Draft, chosen by the San Antonio Spurs. Later that season, he was traded to the Portland Trail Blazers for rookie Walter Berry.His rookie season was unspectacular, as Duckworth came off the bench to back up center Steve Johnson (who in turn got the starting center position when Sam Bowie suffered a broken leg). However, the next season Johnson went down with an injury (in addition; Bowie broke his leg again at the beginning of the season), and Duckworth was pushed into the starting role, from where he averaged 15.8 points and 7.4 rebounds per game. Also, after having previously never averaged over 70.0 percent from the free throw line, he shot 77% that year, rebounded well, and played good defense - earning him the 1988 NBA Most Improved Player Award.


Position(s):Center
Jersey #(s):54, 00
Height:7 ft 0 in (2.13 m)
Weight:275 lb (125 kg)
Born: April 1, 1964Harvey, Illinois
Died: August 25, 2008 (aged 44)Gleneden Beach, Oregon





Career highlights and awards
1987-88 NBA Most Improved Player Award
1989, 1991 NBA All-Star
1990, 1992 NBA Finals

The following season, Duckworth improved his averages to 18.1 points and 8.0 rebounds, and was named to the Western Conference All-Star team. After the 1988-89 campaign, Bowie was traded to the New Jersey Nets for Buck Williams and Johnson, who was at the end of his career, was left unprotected in the 1989 expansion draft, allowing Duckworth to become the starting center.
The 1990 and 1991 seasons were also successful for Duckworth and the Blazers. Although 1988-89 was statistically Duckworth's best season, the team enjoyed greater success the in the following years - advancing to the NBA Finals in 1990, and posting a 63-19 record in 1990-91. The presence of Williams as the starting power forward, with rebounding as main assignment, allowed Duckworth to concentrate on scoring and defense.[citation needed] In 1991 Duckworth was also selected as an NBA All-Star for a second time.

Duckworth's production began to slip in 1991-92, as his physical conditioning deteriorated somewhat. He was constantly outplayed in the 1992 NBA Finals, and was even less productive in the following season, in which the Blazers failed to advance past the first round of the playoffs. At the end of 1992-93, Duckworth was traded to the Washington Bullets for forward Harvey Grant.
Duckworth played four more seasons in the NBA, two for the Bullets, one for the Milwaukee Bucks, missing most of the season due to injuries, and one for the Los Angeles Clippers (1996-97). He retired from professional basketball after that season.

In 1996, Duckworth and Kermit Washington opened Le'Slam Sports Cafe in Vancouver, Washington.[2][3]He settled in Tigard, Oregon, with his girlfriend and her two children.
He was a Heritage Ambassador for the Trail Blazers and was active in the community. He spent several years at the end of his life working at and helping out with Royal Marine Sales, a small locally owned company where he bought and sold small yachts.[4]

Kevin Duckworth, former NBA All-star and Trail Blazer dies age 44
Duckworth died of a heart attack on Monday, August 25, 2008 in Gleneden Beach, Oregon, near the coastal town of Lincoln City. He collapsed in his hotel room, and emergency services were unable to revive him. His death was confirmed by the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office. Duckworth was in town as part of a Trail Blazers group hosting a free kids basketball clinic. An autopsy identified the cause of death as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy with congestive heart failure. He was 44.[5]

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