Former Portland Trail Blazers star and all round great guy Jerome Kersey has tragically passed away at the age of 52.
KGW News in Portland confirmed Kersey's passing at 3:20 in the morning via a Trail Blazers team representative. "#Breaking: Portland Trail Blazers communications rep confirms that former Blazers great Jerome Kersey has passed away. More to come." their tweet read.
Kersey's cause of death is not yet known. CSNNW has conflicting reports that Kersey complained of being ill before collapsing on the way to his car, or that he was taken to hospital in an ambulance from his way to hospital. While it's never nice to speculate, Kersey had undergone surgery on his knee earlier in the week so it could be possible that was a factor in the Portland legend's passing.
Kersey spent 11 of his 17 years in the NBA with the Trail Blazers after being a second round pick by the team in the 1984 Draft, selected with the 46th overall pick. Kersey was the starting small forward on a team that twice went to the NBA Finals, in 1990 and 1992 respectively, playing alongside Clyde Drexler, Terry Porter, Buck Williams, and Kevin Duckworth.
Kersey eventually left the Blazers in 1995 after more than a decade in Portland. He went on to play for the Warriors, Lakers, Sonics Spurs and Bucks. He would eventually win an NBA Championship in 1999 as a member of the San Antonio Spurs before retiring from the game in 2001.
Kersey averaged 10.3 points and 5.5 rebounds in 17 seasons in the NBA. Kersey had his best season in 1987-88, averaging 19.2 points and 8.3 rebounds. Kersey played in 1,153 regular-season games, also averaging 1.9 assists and 1.2 steals.
The former Longwood University star ranks second on Portland's career games list with 831, third in minutes played at 21,400, second in rebounds with 5,078, third in steals with 1,059, and fifth in points with 10,067.
"Today we lost an incredible person and one of the most beloved players to ever wear a Trail Blazers uniform. My thoughts and condolences are with the Kersey family. He will be missed by all of us. It's a terrible loss." - Paul Allen, Blazers Owner.
Blazers legend and NBA Hall of Famer Clyde Drexler weighed in on the loss of his teammate and great friend.
"It is so sad," Drexler told Comcast SportsNet Northwest upon hearing the news. "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."
Several current NBA stars gave their condolences as well, including the likes of Vince Carter and Kobe Bryant. Current Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard tweeted this out:
He will be missed by many.