Former Portland Trail Blazers player and 17-year NBA veteran Jerome Kersey has died at the age of 52.
The Trail Blazers released a statement stating Kersey passed on Wednesday. Kersey was a favorite among Blazers fans and known for his kind heart. Kersey remained close to the league as a team ambassador. On Tuesday, he visited teens with former Blazers Terry Porter and Brian Grant at Madison High School in Portland for Black History Month.
Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen had kind words to say about the player on Wednesday.
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 started his career with the Blazers and averaged 10.3 points and 5.5 rebounds between his time with The Golden State Warriors, The Los Angeles Lakers, San Antonio Spurs and The Milwaukee Bucks. He scored a championship ring with the Spurs before retiring in 2001.
Kersey leaves behind a wife and four children.
His death comes after the loss of Cubs great Ernie Banks and ESPN commentator Stuart Scott.