Jerome Kersey, a 17-year NBA veteran most known for his playing days with the Portland Trail Blazers, died on Wednesday. He was 52. There currently aren't details about the cause of the former small forward's death. Kersey had just appeared Tuesday with fellow ex-Trail Blazers Terry Porter and Brian Grant at Madison High School in Portland in support of Black History Month.
Upon learning of Kersey's death, members of the Trail Blazers' community expressed their heartfelt condolences.
"Today we lost an incredible person and one of the most beloved players to ever wear a Trail Blazers uniform," Blazers owner Paul Allen said in a statement Wednesday, as reported by ESPN. "My thoughts and condolences are with the Kersey family. He will be missed by all of us. It's a terrible loss."
Kersey played 11 seasons with the Trail Blazers, teaming with Hall of Famer Clyde Drexler to help lead the Trail Blazers to two NBA Finals. Those high scoring Blazers squads fell to the Detroit Pistons in five games in 1990 and to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in six games in 1992. Kersey wound up winning an NBA title with the San Antonio Spurs in 1999 before retiring in 2001. He left the game with a career average of 10.3 points per game and 11,825 total points.
Drexler was hurt to hear about Kersey's loss.
"It is so sad," Drexler told Comcast Sports Northwest. "It is a huge loss for the Portland community. He was the greatest guy, the nicest friend, teammate and brother. He was loved by everyone. We will all miss him. He just cared so much. This is unbelievable."
Current Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard tweeted: "R.I.P Jerome Kersey, Spoke to him regularly about life and the ups and downs of a NBA season. Gone too soon, much love! Prayers 2 the family."
NBA veterans Kobe Bryant and Vince Carter, who entered the NBA in 1996 and 1998, respectively, during the twilight years of Kersey's career, also expressed condolences.
"RIP to @jkersey25," Bryant tweeted.
Added Carter: "R.I.P. Jerome Kersey & my condolences to his family....prayers up!!!"
Kersey is survived by his wife and four daughters.
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(Photo: Ken Levine/Getty Images)