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Very Sad Day for Blazers Fans and Friends Of Kevin Duckworth

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Old 08-26-2008, 10:59 AM
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Very Sad Day for Blazers Fans and Friends Of Kevin Duckworth

LINCOLN CITY, Ore. - The Lincoln County Sheriff's Office confirmed early Tuesday morning that former Portland Trailblazer Kevin Duckworth passed away while at the Oregon coast with several other former team members.

Duckworth was 44 years old. No cause of death has been released, but he reportedly died Monday night..

Duckworth, who was 7 feet tall, was a central figure in the Trail Blazers run for the championship in 1990 and 1992. However, the team came up short both years.

He was later traded after the 1992-1993 season and retired from the league in 1997.

Duckworth was a Heritage Ambassador for the Portland Trailblazers and lived in Tigard. He was one of just a few players from the 1990s era that remained in the area.

Reports indicated Duckworth was at the coast to contribute to a youth basketball camp on behalf of the Trail Blazers organization.

Following his retirement from the NBA, Duckworth gained weight, but it is not known if it affected his health.

Duckworth was born in Illinois in 1964.

Tuesday morning, the Trail Blazers sent out this press release:

Kevin Duckworth, 44, a two-time NBA All-Star who starred on Western Conference Championship teams in Portland in 1990 and 1992, passed away Monday evening in Gleneden Beach, Oregon.

A member of the Trail Blazers from 1986-93, the 7-footer - affectionately known to Trail Blazers fans simply as "Duck" - also played for San Antonio, Washington, Milwaukee and the Los Angeles Clippers during his 11-year NBA career.

"Today is an extremely sad day for the Trail Blazers family," Trail Blazers President Larry Miller said. "Kevin will be remembered by fans as one of the most popular and recognizable players to ever wear the Blazers uniform, but to people who knew him, he'll be remembered as one of the warmest and biggest-hearted."

Duckworth remained in the Portland area after his playing career ended, where he was an avid fisherman & outdoorsman, and a skilled carpenter. He was on the Oregon Coast representing the Trail Blazers as a Heritage Ambassador on the team's 19-city Statewide Summer Tour.

The cause of his death is unknown, and will be determined by a Lincoln County Medical Examiner.

A second-round draft pick of the San Antonio Spurs out of Eastern Illinois University in 1986, Duckworth was only 14 games into his NBA career when he was acquired by the Trail Blazers from San Antonio in exchange for Walter Berry.

One season later, the 7-foot center was thrust into the spotlight because of injuries to Steve Johnson and Sam Bowie. Duckworth responded by averaging 15.8 points and 7.4 rebounds per game, establishing himself as a pivot presence instrumental in Portland's emergence as one of the NBA's dominant teams.

Duckworth remains the 10th leading scorer (7,188) and rebounder (3,327) in Trail Blazers history, compiling averages of 13.6 points and 6.3 rebounds in 527 games with Portland. During his tenure, Trail Blazers teams compiled a record of 356-193 (.648). In 684 career NBA games, Duckworth scored 8,085 points (11.8 ppg), grabbed 3,945 rebounds (5.8 rpg) and shot 46.8 percent from the field.

"This is a devastating loss," said Traci Rose, Trail Blazers Vice President of Community Relations. "To this day, Duck is adored throughout this state and remains a brother to his teammates and to Trail Blazers staff. We will forever miss our beloved 00."

Information on memorial services will be announced as it becomes available. Duckworth is survived by his mother and sister.
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