Kevin Duckworth dead at 44

KEVIN DUCKWORTH, 44, a former Portland Trail Blazers center and a “gentle giant” with a feathery touch from the paint, has died.

Mr. Duckworth, part of a Trail Blazers goodwill tour, was scheduled to hold a basketball clinic on the Oregon coast when he died Monday night.

The Depoe Bay Fire Department said it responded about 10 p.m. to a report of a man who was down and not breathing at Salishan Lodge at Gleneden Beach, north of Newport on the central coast.

The cause of death was to be determined by a medical examiner, but the Lincoln County sheriff’s office said there was no indication of foul play.

“Within the world of basketball, within those Trail Blazers teams, he was a jokester,” said Phoenix Suns coach Terry Porter, who played with Mr. Duckworth.

“He was a big loving teddy bear.

“At times, guys got frustrated because he didn’t have a mean streak. He was just a great guy.

“He loved the team atmosphere, loved being a teammate in those successful Blazer teams.”

The 7-foot Mr. Duckworth averaged 11.8 points and 5.8 rebounds over 11 seasons in the NBA, helping Portland reach the NBA finals in 1990 and 1992.

The two-time All-Star also played for San Antonio, Washington, Milwaukee and the Los Angeles Clippers.

Porter said Mr. Duckworth had battled weight problems recently.

Mr. Duckworth grew up in the Chicago area and was drafted by the San Antonio Spurs out of Eastern Illinois University in 1986.

The Spurs traded him that season to the Trail Blazers, where he had his greatest success, playing with Porter, Clyde Drexler, Buck Williams and Jerome Kersey on two Western Conference championship teams.

Mr. Duckworth remained in the Portland area after he retired in 1997, doing woodwork, fishing and hunting.

He ran a construction company in Northern California for a time, and a restaurant venture in Vancouver, Wash., with former NBA player Kermit Washington went out of business.

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