Jerome Kersey, one of the league’s all-time most underrated hustlers, passed away Wednesday at the age of 52. Kersey spent the first 11 of his 17-year career with the Portland Trail Blazers, playing in two Finals (1990 and 1992). He started at small forward and compiled averages of 12.1 points and 6.1 rebounds per game with the Blazers.
Here is the Blazers’ press release on Kersey:
A beloved figure and one of the most prolific Portland Trail Blazers, Jerome Kersey, has passed away at age 52. Cause of death has not been confirmed. A long-time resident of Portland after his 17-year NBA career, Kersey was employed by the Trail Blazers as Director of Alumni Relations as part of the team’s Social Responsibility Department.
“Today we lost an incredible person and one of the most beloved players to ever wear a Trail Blazers uniform,” said Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen. “My thoughts and condolences are with the Kersey family. He will be missed by all of us. It’s a terrible loss.”
“We’re shocked to lose such a great member of our Trail Blazers family,” said Trail Blazers President and CEO Chris McGowan. “The news is so sudden, and we’re sure more details will be forthcoming. But it is indeed a sad day for our organization, the city of Portland and the NBA. Jerome will be remembered not only for his incredible contributions on the court, but his tremendous impact in our community.”
“Jerome was an incredible influence on our players as a model for life after basketball,” said Trail Blazers President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey. “He set the bar extremely high with his long-lasting influence in this community.”
Kersey was part of the great early 1990s Portland nucleus that led the Trail Blazers to the NBA Finals in 1990 and 1992. He ranks fifth on the team’s all-time scoring list (10,067) and third in rebounds (5,078) after an 11-year tenure in Portland from 1984-95. He continued his career with Golden State, L.A. Lakers, Seattle, San Antonio and Milwaukee, and he won an NBA Championship with the Spurs in 1999.
The Blazers will hold a media briefing with team executives and former players Thursday at 10 a.m. PST.