By Brian Taylor
Why you might remember him: Kevin Jerome Duckworth, or “Duck” to his teammates was the center on those early 90’s Portland Trailblazer squads, twice making the NBA All-Star team. He was huge and was the predecessor to the trend of “ridiculously huge NBA centers”, standing 7’0”, 275 in his Blazer days. The nifty thing about Kevin’s game was the ability to draw opposing centers out of the lane to guard him, so Clyde Drexler, Terry Porter and the rest of the Blazers could control the lane on offense. He did this via a peculiar, one handed jump/hook shot that became his trademark during his glory days. Coming out of Eastern Illinois in the 1986 draft, he was alongside other star big men in Brad Daugherty, the troubled Roy Tarpley (the ORIGINAL NOWITZKI), Dennis Rodman and others, but was traded from the Spurs (after they landed some David Robinson guy). During Kevin’s All Star years, he averaged about 18pts, 9 boards a game.
Why you probably forgot him: Once again, and we’ve seen this happen dozens of times to some brilliant players, the weight issue got to him. Right after being traded to the Bullets for (their leading scorer) Harvey Grant, I remember him showing up for Bullets’ training camp weighing in at around 375…BY HIMSELF. There were stories published in the Washington Post of people shaking their heads in disgust at him as he loaded box after box of chocolate chip cookies into his basket. He was the anti-Shaq, a mountain of a man who was probably 3% muscle and 97% Oreos, and after frustrating Bullets’ management, he went on to take up space for Milwaukee (the green alternate jersey edition) and the Clippers before sitting down at the buffet for good in 1997.
A story so sad that there’s even a website defending his girth…I mean, honor. Check it out!