- Kevin Duckworth
April 1, 1964 Harvey, Illinois
deathdate=death date and age|2008|8|25|1964|4|1
Gleneden Beach, Oregon
Eastern Illinois University
San Antonio Spurs(1986–1987)
Portland Trail Blazers(1987–1993)
* Washington Bullets (1993–1995)
Los Angeles Clippers(1996–1997)
NBA Most Improved Player Award
*1989, 1991 NBA All-Star
Kevin Jerome Duckworth (
April 1 1964– August 25 2008) was an American professional basketballplayer at center in the National Basketball Association. A native of Illinois, he played college basketball at Eastern Illinois Universitybefore being drafted in 1986 by the San Antonio Spursin the second round. Before completing a two seasons with the Spurs, he was traded to the Portland Trail Blazerswhere he spent most of six seasons and was named the NBA's Most Improved Player and a two-time All-Star. After playing with three more teams he retired in 1997 and returned to Oregonwhere he would later work for the Trail Blazers' organization.
Early life and career
Duckworth was born in
Harvey, Illinoisand grew up in Chicago, where he played basketball at Thornridge High School.cite web| url=http://www.eiupanthers.com/News/mbball/2008/8/26/08_duckworth_story.asp| title=EIU Legend Kevin Duckworth Passes Away| publisher= Eastern Illinois University| accessdate=2008-08-27] 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.He also led EIU to the Mid-Continent ConferenceTournament Championship in 1985 and was the Conference Player of the Year in 1986.
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 Blazersfor 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 Bowiesuffered 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 percentfrom the free throwline, he shot 77% that year, rebounded well, and played good defense - earning him the 1988 NBA Most Improved Player Award.
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 Netsfor Buck Williamsand 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.fact|date=August 2008 In 1991 Duckworth was also selected as an NBA All-Star for a second time.
Decline, and retirement
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 Washingtonopened Le'Slam Sports Cafe in Vancouver, Washington. [cite web| url=http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1P1-30247313.html |title=Le'Slam Sports Cafe| work= The Columbian| publisher=High Beam| accessdate=2008-08-27] [ [http://www.flickr.com/photos/theoregonian/2800417800/ Duckworth] , a 1997 photo of Duckworth at his sports bar, from " The Oregonian" via Flickr] 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.cite web|url=http://www.royalmarinesales.com/royal_marine_sales_003.htm#Fishing%20with%20Kevin%20Duckworth|title=Fishing with Kevin Duckworth|last=Crombie|first=Noelle|date=December 11, 2007|publisher=The Oregonian|accessdate=2008-08-26]
Duckworth died of
heart failureon Monday, August 25, 2008in 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 autopsyidentified the cause of death as hypertrophic cardiomyopathywith congestive heart failure. He was 44.cite web|url=http://www.oregonlive.com/news/index.ssf/2008/08/former_trail_blazer_kevin_duck.html|title=Former Trail Blazer Kevin Duckworth dies|last=Crombie|first=Noelle|date=August 26, 2008|publisher=The Oregonian|accessdate=2008-08-26] The Trail Blazers and the Oregon Community Foundationestablished a memorial scholarship in Duckworth's name for college and professional training for students in Oregon and Southwest Washington. cite web|url=http://www.nba.com/blazers/news/Trail_Blazers_and_the_Oregon_C-281305-1218.html|title="Trail Blazers and the Oregon Community Foundation Establish Kevin Duckworth Community Scholarship|publisher=trailblazers.com]
* [http://www.nba.com/playerfile/kevin_duckworth/index.html NBA.com profile]
* [http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/d/duckwke01.html Statistics] at basketball-reference.com
NAME = Duckworth, Kevin
ALTERNATIVE NAMES = Duckworth, Kevin Jerome; The Duck
SHORT DESCRIPTION = National Basketball Association player
DATE OF BIRTH = April 1, 1964
PLACE OF BIRTH = Harvery, Illinois
DATE OF DEATH = August 25, 2008
PLACE OF DEATH = Kernville, Oregon
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