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.