Jerome Kersey, whose relentless and intrepid character of play done him one of a many dear Trail Blazers players, died suddenly Wednesday during Legacy Meridian Park Medical Center in Tualatin. He was 52.
Kersey played 11 of his 17 NBA seasons in Portland, a starting little brazen on some of a many distinguished Blazers teams. While Clyde Drexler supposing a flair, and Terry Porter a large shots, it was Kersey who mostly combined those opportunities by diving on a floor, or fighting for a rebound. And when it came time for him to be in a open court, his speed, distance and leaping ability done him one of a some-more absolute dunkers in authorization history.
Eventually, those dunks and those purchase plays would lead longtime radio voice Bill Schonely to contend “Mercy, mercy, Jerome Kersey” and many still remember him as Mercy Kersey.
“My purpose was to do all a unwashed work,” Kersey pronounced in 2010. “Get on a quick break, dive for lax balls, squeeze a rebounds.”
He never done an All-Star team, though he was an constituent partial of a Blazers teams that done it to a NBA Finals in 1990 and 1992, and posted a authorization record 63 wins in 1991.
“A extensive detriment for a Blazers family and a city of Portland since everybody desired him,” Drexler pronounced on Wednesday. “On a court, since of a proceed he played: usually that all-out energy, and he gave we all he had. And off a court, since he was so jovial and such a good guy.”
In a statement, Blazers owners Paul Allen pronounced Kersey’s flitting was a “terrible loss.”
“Today we mislaid an implausible chairman and one of a many dear players to ever wear a Trail Blazers uniform,” Allen said.
An unheralded 6-foot-7, 225-pound little brazen out of little Longwood College in Virginia, Kersey was a late second-round collect (46th overall) in a 1984 draft. He wasn’t given many of a possibility to make a Blazers group that already had wing players in Kenny Carr and Kiki Vandeweghe, an opinion that even then-coach Jack Ramsay held.
In a summer of 1984, Ramsay summoned 5 rookies to Portland after a group had finished a summer joining movement in San Diego.
Ramsay hold a five-day mini camp, with Kersey, Steve Colter, Bernard Thompson, Tom Scheffler and Victor Fleming. At a finish of a 5 days, Ramsay had a players round around him, after that he gave any actor recommendation for a summer.
“He got to me and pronounced ‘I don’t consider we are utterly prepared for my group yet. Let’s get we overseas,”’ Kersey remembered in 2010.
Kersey pronounced he went behind to Virginia and worked as tough as he ever had — running, lifting, shooting. And when he reported for training camp, he played each notation as if he was in a NBA Finals.
“I didn’t consider he was going to make a team,” Drexler said. “But he came in and out hustled each male on a team. And he was like a sponge. He took all in that was taught.”
He left Portland in 1995 when he was taken by Toronto in a enlargement draft, finale his run of 831 games in Portland, when he averaged 12.1 points and 6.1 rebounds. When he left, he ranked fourth in authorization story in scoring and second in rebounding. He also ranked third in steals, fourth in blocks and eighth in assists.
“He was a hardest playing, many earthy actor we have ever played with,” Porter pronounced in 2010. “I remember when we played San Antonio in a playoffs and Sean Elliott was observant in a newspapers ‘He pushes, he hits, he elbows …’ and we unequivocally gave it to Jerome, observant he’s got them good in a newspaper. But that was Jerome. He played with an edge.”
Elliott wasn’t a usually competition who complained. Drexler pronounced it was scarcely a nightly occurrence that a actor would proceed and ask Drexler to tell Kersey to palliate up.
“Dominique Wilkins came adult to me one night and asked me ‘What did that male eat? Does he have to play so hard?”‘ Drexler pronounced in 2010. “And we told him, ‘Nique, he does that to everybody.’ There was a extensive volume of honour around a joining for Jerome. Believe me, guys who went opposite him knew a night before they improved get their sleep.”
Said Kersey: “I’ve always suspicion that if we worked tough and attempted to emanate things out on a court, that good things would occur for yourself and a group as well. That’s usually a proceed I’ve always played.”
But Kersey became some-more than usually a dispatch actor with a earthy presence. After his second year, he spent all summer in Portland operative with ubiquitous manager Geoff Petrie on his burst shot. Part of a drills enclosed study video fasten of his shot.
By 1986, Kersey had combined a jumper to his arsenal. His scoring went from 8.5 points a diversion to 12.3. The subsequent season, it jumped to 19.2 points a game.
“When he grown that jumper off a dribble, he became a genuine player,” Drexler said. “If we played off of him, he could strike that 15-to-20 footer. Now, he was a actor with all a intangibles. He was always healthy, always durable, and always played hard.”
Kersey went on to play 17 NBA seasons, with stints with Golden State, a Lakers, Seattle, San Antonio and Milwaukee. He won an NBA pretension in 1999 with a Spurs.
After he retired, Kersey returned to Portland and for a 2002-2003 deteriorate served as a Blazers’ executive of actor programs. He left a subsequent deteriorate to offer as an partner manager in Milwaukee underneath Porter.
This season, he was a Blazers Ambassador, appearing during village events and during Blazers games, as good as portion as a postgame researcher for Comcast Sports Northwest.
“The Portland community, it’s a good detriment for a whole community,” Drexler pronounced Wednesday. “He was a good guy, a good friend, an implausible teammate and usually a genuine post of a community.”
Kersey is survived by his wife, Teri, and 4 daughters. The Blazers pronounced information about a jubilee of Kersey’s life and other arrangements will be forthcoming.