The Trail Blazers’ 50-year anniversary season is temporarily on pause as the NBA goes on hiatus to slow the spread of COVID-19. During that break, Blazer’s Edge is counting down the top 100 Blazers: players, executives, and other influencers who made the franchise what it is today.
No. 51 | Kenny Carr
Games Played with Blazers: 316 Regular Season, 13 Postseason
*PTS: 12.4 | REB: 8.1 | OREB: 2.4 | FG%: 52.4
*Statistics are pulled from a player’s time in Portland
Joined Club: June 1982, acquired from the Detroit Pistons for a first-round pick
Departed Club: Retired from NBA in 1987
Place in History: The Trail Blazers have a long, proud history of blue-collar power forwards contributing toughness, bulk, and consistency to otherwise high-scoring lineups. Many of those power forwards also had wrinkles to their game that made them special. Kenny Carr was no exception.
When healthy, Carr was among the most reliable workhorse power forwards in the NBA. He’d give you 28-29 minutes a night, 100% effort, crash the boards, get his nose into the opponent...the guy was everybody’s backbone. Whatever his team needed, he provided. Want points? He could score 20, occasionally even topping 30. Rebounds? He continued the long-standing tradition of Portland being one of the nastiest rebounding teams in the league. Defense? He was 6’7 but backed down from nobody. He was strong and tough enough to stand alongside any Portland legend at the position you could name.
And the twist? Carr could score from the perimeter as well as from the block, facing up just as dangerously as he posted up. He never shot lower than 50% (rounded) from the field in Portland. During his best season, 1983-84, he shot 56.1% while scoring 15.6 points per game, playing all 82.
Carr was seldom flashy and demonstrative. His play did the talking. Some players love to score, others appear to love the spotlight and cachet of playing in the NBA. One or two Trail Blazers are even suspected of playing just for the paycheck. Carr would compete. The lines of his body, the way he focused on a shot or a rebound, the way he appeared in spaces that you didn’t even know were spaces, contesting rebounds that didn’t appear available...THAT was Kenny Carr. He wasn’t going to be the fastest guy on the floor or jump the highest. He was the guy who never gave up. You wouldn’t see him in Space Jam, but if you were stuck in Saw, having to figure your way out of a trap even if it meant beating your head against the wall until the wall cracked...Kenny Carr is the guy you want.
The only opponent that Carr couldn’t beat was the injury bug. Back problems caught up to him as he approached 30 and never let go, likely a by-product of all the tough miles put on his body. He’d retire at 31, having just averaged 10 rebounds in 30 minutes per game during the 1986-87 season, still shooting over 50%, still going hard at it.
For being irrepressible, for the extra junk in the trunk, for the work ethic and the joy of watching him compete, Kenny Carr earns the 51st spot in our Top 100 countdown of Trail Blazers players and influencers.
Share your memories of Carr below, and stick with us as we pass the halfway point and turn towards #1 tomorrow!