Former NBA player, who spent 17 years in the NBA, Jerome Kersey died on Feb. 18, at age 52. The news was confirmed by Kersey’s former team Portland TrailBlazers’ representative.
He is survived by wife Teri and their four children.
CNNSW reported that Kersey told co-workers he didn’t feel well and was going home, before “collaps[ing] on the way to his car.”
Kersey was drafted by Portland in the 1984 draft, and would go on to play his first 11 seasons with the Trail Blazers. He later worked as an ambassador for the team and also as a panelist on CSN’s “Talkin’ Ball” show after Trail Blazer games. Kersey retired from basketball in 2001, and in 2004-2005 was an assistant coach on Milwaukee Bucks with his former teammate Terry Porter.
Prior to his passing, Kersey reportedly earlier underwent a knee surgery, after which he didn’t feel well. Another source said Kersey was taken by ambulance from his Lake Oswego home to a local hospital.
KGWreported that Kersey died when a blood clot traveled from his left calf to his lung and caused a pulmonary thromboembolism, according to Dr. Larry Lewman with the state medical examiner’s office. An autopsy was conducted on Feb. 19.
Lewman said Kersey’s death could have been a complication from knee surgery he had on Feb. 17. Former NBA star passed away at Legacy Meridian Medical Park Center in Tualatin.
Before his NBA career, Kersey was a two-time National Association of Basketball Coaches Division II All-American at Longwood College.
Kersey came to Portland’s summer camp in 1984 as an unheralded and raw small-forward prospect with great energy and leaping ability. After watching him for a time, then-Portland Coach Jack Ramsay encouraged Kersey to play his rookie season in Europe, where he would get regular playing time.
Kersey however felt he was an NBA player and would have none of that. He forced Ramsay’s hand and proved too promising to be cut after fall training camp. Even though he started only 10 total games through his first three seasons, he quickly became a fan favorite due to his all-out effort, energy, defensive ability and rebounding.
Kersey, a 6-foot-7, 215-pound forward, helped the Portland teams to advance twice to the Finals in the 1990s under coach Rick Adelman. The Blazers lost to the Pistons in 1990 and to the Bulls in 1992. Kersey later won the NBA title with the San Antonio Spurs in 1999.
After playing for the TrailBlazers, Kersey played for Golden State Warriors, LA Lakers, Seattle Supersonics, San Antonio Spurs and Milwaukee Bucks. He appeared in total of 1153 NBA games (started in 571), averaging 10.3 ppg, 5.5 rpg in 24.4 mpg.
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