Jerome Kersey, a two-time NBA Finals forward with the Portland Trail Blazers, died Wednesday at the age of 52.
The Trail Blazers organization confirmed his passing, but declined to give details on Mr Kersey’s death. ESPN reported. Other reports conflict on the events leading up to his death, one saying he collapsed walking to his car and others saying he was taken by ambulance from his home.
“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. “My thoughts and condolences are with the Kersey family. He will be missed by all of us. It's a terrible loss.”
During his time in Portland, Mr Kersey played alongside NBA Hall of Famer Clyde Drexler, who said he was shocked to hear about the loss.
“It is so sad,” Mr 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.”
Other NBA stars took to Twitter to express their sadness at the death of Mr Kersey:
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 familyhyphen; Damian Lillard (@Dame_Lillard) February 19, 2015
RIP to @jkersey25hyphen; Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) February 19, 2015
R.I.P. Jerome Kersey & my condolences to his family.... (prayers) up!!!hyphen; Vince Carter (@mrvincecarter15) February 19, 2015
Mr Kersey was a starter on the 1990 and 1992 Trail Blazer teams that made the NBA Finals, losing to the Detroit Pistons and Chicago Bulls, respectively. He was drafted by Portland in 1984 and played 11 seasons with the Trail Blazers and was second on the franchise’s all-time list in games played (831) and rebounds (5,078), and third in blocked shots (621) and steals (1,059).
Mr Kersey later played for the Golden State Warriors, the Los Angeles Lakers, the Seattle Supersonics, the San Antonio Spurs and the Milwaukee Bucks. He won an NBA championship in 1999 with the Spurs.
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