Former Portland Trail Blazer Kevin Duckworth Dies

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Former Portland Trail Blazer center Kevin Duckworth has died while visiting the Oregon Coast to host a free basketball clinic. He was 44.

The Lincoln County sheriff's office confirmed the death. Duckworth, who lived in Tigard, died Monday.

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 team said the cause of his death would be determined by a medical examiner.

Duckworth was a 7-foot, 300-pounder who struggled unsuccessfully to control his weight during his career, and gained weight afterward.

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

The Spurs traded him that season to the Trail Blazers, where he had his greatest success, twice appearing in All-Star games and playing with Clyde Drexler, Terry Porter, Buck Williams and Jerome Kersey on Western Conference championship teams in 1990 and 1992.

In the summer of 1988 he signed an eight-year, $16-million contract with the Blazers. In the 1988-89 season, he averaged 18.1 points a game and eight rebounds, playing in 79 games.

"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," said team President Larry Miller.

The Blazers said he was representing the team on a 19-city tour of Oregon.

In 11 NBA seasons, he averaged 11.8 points and 5.8 rebounds.

After the 1991-92 season he was traded to the Washington Bullets, playing there two years and then a year each for the Milwaukee Bucks and the Los Angeles Clippers before retiring in 1997.

He remained in the Portland area afterward, 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.