Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Kevin Duckworth, RIP

I am sad to hear of the passing of former Portland Trail Blazers center Kevin Duckworth. He was 44.

Duckworth was on the great Blazer teams of the early 90s. He was kind of a weak link on the teams, but still average more than 15 points a game 4 straight years. He never had enough of a mean streak to become dominant, but was a very good player. Unforutnately, he was felled by an inability to control his appetite. This picture is Duckworth early in his career, when he weighed around 270 pounds. By the end of his career in the mid 90s he was at least 330 and was over 400 pounds in the years before his death.

I can't express how great these Blazer teams were. I believe they were the best team to never win the NBA championship. They should have won in 1991 but they choked against the Lakers in the Western Conference finals. They were better than the Lakers that year, as well as the Bulls. Chicago went on to win the title in 91, Jordan's first. That Bulls team was pretty good, but was certainly the weakest of their championship teams. The Blazers made the finals in 90 but lost to the last of the Bad Boys Pistons teams. They also made it in 92, but fell to a superior Bulls team as Jordan and Pippen had really come into their own.

Duckworth was a core part of this team, able to put a big body against David Robinson, Patrick Ewing, Hakeem Olajuwon, and the other great centers of the era. He had a nice shooting touch and was a great offensive option, as really everyone on that team was. Without a doubt they are my favorite sports teams of my life.