Sports

Former NBA star Jerome Kersey dies at 52

July 16, 2003: Portland Trail Blazers general manager John Nash, left, chats with assistant coach Jerome Kersey after the NBA basketball team's practice in Tualatin, Ore.

July 16, 2003: Portland Trail Blazers general manager John Nash, left, chats with assistant coach Jerome Kersey after the NBA basketball team's practice in Tualatin, Ore.  (AP)

Jerome Kersey, the versatile small forward who helped the Portland Trail Blazers reach two NBA Finals and won a title with the San Antonio Spurs in 1999, died Wednesday. He was 52.

The Trail Blazers confirmed Wednesday night that Kersey died, but didn't provide details.

A team ambassador, Kersey appeared Tuesday with fellow former Blazers Terry Porter and Brian Grant at a Portland school in celebration of African American History Month.

Kersey averaged 10.3 points and 5.5 rebounds in 17 seasons in the NBA with Portland, Golden State, the Los Angeles Lakers, Seattle, San Antonio and Milwaukee. He helped the Blazers reach the NBA Finals in 1990 and 1992, playing alongside Porter, Clyde Drexler, Kevin Duckworth and Buck Williams.

The former Longwood University star had his best season in 1987-88, averaging 19.2 points and 8.3 rebounds. Kersey played in 1,153 regular-season games, also averaging 1.9 assists and 1.2 steals.

Kersey ranks second on Portland's career games list with 831, third in minutes played at 21,400, second in rebounds with 5,078, third steals with 1,059, and fifth in points with 10,067.

At 6-foot-7 and 215 pounds, "No Mercy" Kersey had a broad smile and a warm manner that made him a fan favorite.

Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard posted to Twitter: "Spoke to him regularly about life and the ups and downs of a NBA season. Gone too soon, much love!" Others who posted their condolences included Kobe Bryant and Vince Carter.

Kersey retired from basketball in 2001. He was an assistant coach with Milwaukee in 2004-05 under Porter.

At Longwood, a Division II school in Farmville, Virginia, Kersey averaged 17 points and 11.3. He was a second-round pick by the Blazers in the 1984 draft.

Kersey lived with wife Teri in Lake Oswego.