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Q&A With Kevin Duckworth: The All-Star Experience

Trailblazers.com's Casey Holdahl sat down with former player and current Trail Blazers Ambassador Kevin Duckworth to discuss Brandon Roy's first All-Star game and his experiences as an All-Star.

Casey Holdahl: Any advice to give to Brandon before his first All-Star game?

Kevin Duckworth: When he got announced the other day we had the little ceremony on the court for him. I was talking to him about it and I told him, ĎBrandon, no matter what, itís your first All-Star game. So that meaning that most likely, youíre not going to get a lot of quality minutes. So shoot the ball.í I donít care where you at, just shoot it. The goal of the game is to have fun. Enjoy yourself and donít take it too seriously. Just shoot the ball!

Casey Holdahl: What was your favorite moment from the two All-Star games you played in?

Kevin Duckworth: Just the fact that I was on the voting chart, on the list. That people were actually voting to get me on there. I think thatís what was most fulfilling to me is that you can finally see yourself and your name there. Instead of wishing you were there, everyone can see it. Plus it was the coachesí decision and to me, their decision was more important that the fans because the fans look at popularity; coaches look at things you accomplish and the hard work you put in. I like the way I got in.

Casey Holdahl: Which was your favorite All-Star game you played in, the first or the second?

Kevin Duckworth: Theyíre about the same really. One year I did learn that being in an All-Star game with Michael Jordan -- you an All-Star but heís a superstar -- so itís a whole different level of the way they treat you. Of course youíre an All-Star, but they treat him at a whole different level. And I realized that hey, you just an All-Star.

But just being there. When youíre in the locker room and you look around, my first one I saw Kareem. I was very overwhelmed because I was a Bruce Lee fan growing up as a kid. Then to see Kareem next to me, he did that movie with Bruce Lee and they became friends. Thatís the only opportunity I ever had to talk to someone who actually knew Bruce Lee. So I was actually questioning him about Bruce Lee, I didnít think about basketball. That was a great thing. Then to play with Moses Malone and guys that you always looked up to who had always been the elite guys in the league. You sit there among them, shooting crap with them, talking crap. Man I tell you what, that is the All-Star game.

Casey Holdahl: Clyde Drexler and Terry Porter played with you in your second All-Star game. Did you guys go out on the town and get into some trouble?

Kevin Duckworth:No! Not at all. Each guy had their own family. Matter fact, I didnít see Clyde and Terry unless we were on the court or during the press things, but I never really saw them. Everybody did their own individual thing; each guy had their own family there so they was busy. We didnít get into no trouble.

Casey Holdahl: The first All-Star game you played in you lost to the East. The second game you beat the East. How important is it to actually win the game when youíre out there playing?

Kevin Duckworth: There are incentives. You get a couple thousand more if you win than lose. Plus thereís bragging rights. I think Karl Malone missed a free-throw when we lost the first one. Other than that, itís just bragging rights. Thatís all.

Casey Holdahl: You mentioned that Michael Jordan was more than just an All-Star. Do you see anyone in this All-Star game like that?

Kevin Duckworth: There are a lot of guys who are super players. Iím very impressed with Brandon Roy, to be honest with you. You got a guy here with talent, but he also has the knowledge and he works hard and heís so humble at his age. You donít normally see guys like that so humble. Heís going to be a great leader. I think Brandon could break some records here in Portland. I think heís going to be here for a long time and there are not a lot of guys like that.

Look at LeBron James. He came right out of high school. How many people ever predicted that he would be as good as he is now? And also coming out of high school that he would do as well as he did his first year out because heís a humble person too. He didnít read his own clippings telling him how great he is; he knew he was good! He still worked at it. Thatís what makes a great player. You can have the god-given talent but what you going to do with it? Are going to work hard and make it better or are you going to accept. What a lot of guys do is play by their talent.

Casey Holdahl: Brandon Roy isnít known as a flashy player. How do you think his game will translate to an All-Star game?

Kevin Duckworth: Being a ball player in America and a Black man, trust me, he got some flash in his game. Iím pretty sure on the court somewhere heíll show off his streetball talent. Iím pretty sure he got that talent. He can bring it out. Iím pretty sure he can itís just a matter of having an appropriate place to do it. Playing on an NBA court ainít the right place to do it. But Iím pretty sure he got game.

Casey Holdahl: Where do your All-Star appearances stack up in regards to your other accomplishments as an NBA player?

Kevin Duckworth: Itís not up there as much as you might think. Itís a great accomplishment, but itís not like the highlight of my career. If I was playing tennis it would be the most accomplished thing, but Iím not, Iím playing a sport with other teammates. When we all do well together, thatís when we all get the credit. So if I go out there and have a great year and we only win 20 games a season and Iíve averaging 25 points, that donít look good to me. I look like just somebody out there just shooting every time I get the ball to score when my other teammates are playing like crap. So to me, the highlight of my career was the success we had on the court as a team, especially when we went to the playoffs. We went to the Finals twice. We should have had two rings by far, in my heart. And to me, those are the most memorable moments in my career.
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