Former NBA centre Kevin Duckworth dies

Former NBA centre Kevin Duckworth died Monday night at the age of 44.

Former NBA centre Kevin Duckworth died Monday night at the age of 44.

Duckworth was in Lincoln City in northwest Oregon for a youth basketball clinic when he collapsed and died, according to a statement released by the Portland Trail Blazers. The cause of death was not immediately known and an autopsy is planned.

The seven-foot Duckworth was selected by the San Antonio Spurs in the second round of the 1986 draft but traded early in his rookie season to Portland, where he would spend seven seasons.

Duckworth averaged more than 15 points and six rebounds per game between 1987 and 1991. He was with the Trail Blazers as they made two trips to the NBA finals (1990, 1992).

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

Duckworth also played with the Washington Bullets, Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Clippers before ending his career in 1997.

In 684 career NBA games, he averaged 11.8 points and 5.8 rebounds per game.

Duckworth settled in the Portland area after retiring from the NBA. He is survived by his mother and a sister.

With files from the Associated Press