PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — Jerome Kersey was remembered as the best teammate, a great friend, a buddy and one of the best humans ever.
Kersey, the former Blazer great who later worked in the front office with the team, died suddenly Wednesday. He was 52.
Kersey died from a pulmonary thromboembolism, said deputy state medical examiner Dr. Larry Lewman. A blood clot broke loose from his left calf, traveled to his lungs and caused his death.
Lewman said it is a known complication from any kind of surgical procedure when people are inactive for a few days following surgery. Kersey had minor knee surgery earlier in the week.
At a morning press conference, Blazers officials – past and present – plus former players remembered him as a great person.
Harry Glickman, the founder and first president of the Blazers, said, “You will never know anyone who will be a better human.” The only person Kersey ever disappointed was “my 9-year-old granddaughter. She was upset when he got married instead of waiting for her.”
Terry Porter did not even try to hide the tears when he talked about “the best teammate you could have.”
He and Kersey came up together, “went through some times” and “grew up.”
Longtime announcer Bill Schonely said he saw Kersey Wednesday. He knew he had had minor knee surgery earlier in the week and expected to see him on crutches. When he saw Kersey was walking without crutches, “I gave him a bad time about that.”
Schonely also relayed the story of perhaps his most lasting call with Kersey. One night, Kersey made an outstanding offensive play and then out came, “Mercy, mercy, Jerome Kersey!”
The last words Kersey said to him Wednesday were, “Have a good day. I did have a good day. For a while.”
“He was my friend, my buddy and I’ll never forget him. … I had a tough time sleeping last night. He was quite a guy.”
Team president Chris McGowan said they’re planning tributes to Kersey, though the details have not been formalized. Among the ideas is to retire Kersey’s number 25.
KOIN 6 News will have more information later in the day.