Former Trail Blazers forward Jerome Kersey, who spent 17 seasons in the NBA after being selected by Portland in the second round of the 1984 NBA Draft, passed away suddenly on Wednesday. He was 52.
The cause of Kersey's death is still unknown. But the Trail Blazers confirmed that Kersey died through a statement released by team owner Paul Allen late yesterday.
"Today, we lost an incredible person and one of the most beloved players to ever wear a Trail Blazers uniform," Allen said in the statement. "My thoughts and condolences are with the Kersey family. He will be missed by all of us. It's a terrible loss."
Kersey played a key role in the Trail Blazers' trips to the 1990 and 1992 NBA Finals. He was a starter for both teams and played for Portland for his first 11 seasons in the NBA. He also spent time with the Warriors, Lakers, Supersonics, Spurs, and Bucks before retiring from the league in 2001. He won an NBA title with San Antonio in 1999 but his greatest individual accomplishments came with Portland. He ranks second all-time in games played for the franchise (831), second in rebounds (5,078), third in blocks (621), and third in steals (1,059).
Several NBA players, including Damian Lillard, Kobe Bryant, and Vince Carter, took to Twitter after learning about Kersey's death to express their reactions:
And Kersey's former teammate Clyde Drexler also spoke with Comcast Sports Northwest after hearing about his death.
"It is so sad," he said. "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."
Rest in peace.
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