Jerome Kersey Rumors
“We’ve lost a lot of guys over the last couple of years,” King said, “Moses, Darryl Dawkins, Jerome Kersey and before that Pat Cummings, just to name a few. And a lot of these guys have died of heart attacks. So I think it’s great that the league, the players association and the retired players association are joining forces to try and figure out why that is and what we can do to adequately provide for everyone.”
The celebration of the life of Jerome Kersey held this afternoon at Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum was exactly that – a celebration. There were a number of tears and gut-wrenching moments, but there was also a lot of laughter and a general upbeat to the proceedings. It was fitting for a man who has positively impacted so many. The event was hosted by Bill Schonely, and featured speeches from Blazers President and CEO Chris McGowan, Team Chaplain Al Egg, Blazers Founder Harry Glickman, Teammate Terry Porter, Former Blazers Community Relations Executive Traci Rose, his best friend Ron Sloy, his daughter Kiara Kersey, and his wife Teri Kersey. The current Blazers team and staff was in attendance, along with family, friends, and fans enough to fill the floor of the Coliseum, as well as much of the lower level of the surrounding stands.
Jerome’s off-beat and fun-loving nature was obvious throughout as well. Glickman told of a time Kersey casually showed up to his office with a snake around his neck. Sloy told of a young boy who asked Kersey how many times he had to pass the ball before he could shoot, because on his second grade team they had to pass the ball twice before they could shoot. Kersey responded, “I took it straight to the hoop, my man,” according to Sloy.
Emotion overcame most on hand during the latter speeches. Terry Porter fought back tears throughout his address. He spoke directly to Kersey’s grandmother, who brought up Jerome from the age of 2: “Know that you should be so proud of the man you raised. You did not get to experience firsthand, but this city, and this state, loved your grandson. They considered him as their own son, and he will live in their minds and hearts forever.”
Porter ended by addressing Kersey himself: “Well good friend, The good Lord has called you, but you don’t have to worry about being a second round pick in his draft. You are a guaranteed lottery pick.” Sloy also was also visibly affected throughout his words, finally breaking down at the end, as he said, “If love could have saved Jerome, he would have lived forever.”
Former Trail Blazers coach Rick Adelman remembered Jerome Kersey as a gifted athlete who made himself a solid NBA player through hard work. “He had the athletic skills; he could run, he could jump, and he was strong. Every camp he came to — I told him one time, ‘Are you trying to be a linebacker or are you trying to be a basketball player?’ He always came in and worked his tail off,” Adelman said.
A little later, Traci Rose, who worked in community relations for the team, answered her desk phone at work. Kersey was on the other end and needed a favor. Could she gather an autographed basketball, a Blazers shirt and hat — whatever memorabilia she could find in the office — and bring it downstairs? He was in the parking lot. So Rose hurriedly put together a package of goods and strolled downstairs. When she made it to the parking lot, she was dumbfounded. Before her wasn’t just Kersey, but also Clyde Drexler. And Terry Porter. And Buck Williams and Kevin Duckworth. Before her stood the entire Blazers starting lineup. “Jerome had immediately called his brothers, gathered them together,” Rose said, recalling the moment. “And they went on to the hospital and spent the afternoon with this child. That was Jerome doing what Jerome does.”