The Portland Trail Blazers honor former player Jerome Kersey after his sudden and shocking death on Wednesday.
Just one day after speaking at Madison High School alongside fellow former Blazers Brian Grant and Terry Porter, Kersey was transported to Legacy Meridian Medical Center in Tualatin to be treated for a blood clot. He died in the hospital later that evening.
“We lost an incredible person and one of the most beloved players to ever wear a Trail Blazers uniform,” said Blazers Owner Paul Allen 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.”
Kersey is remembered not only for his skill and hard work on the court through his 11 year Blazer career, but also for his continued involvement in Blazer franchise and his service to the Rip City community.
“He meant a lot to this organization,” said guard Damian Lillard. “He was into the community and helping out other people, which is something I’m big on.”
“I feel like I was just talking to him yesterday,” said forward LaMarcus Aldridge. “It’s tough to have someone you see almost everyday pass away. It just shows us we can’t take anything for granted.”
For Steve Blake, a Blazer guard, Kersey’s passing hit especially hard. Blake bears Kersey’s former number, 25.
After learning about his death at a Wednesday night Bible study, Blake said he wanted to find a way to honor the man. “It was something I thought about, something I prayed about,” said Blake.
He decided he wanted to change his jersey number to No. 5, so that Kersey’s number could be honored and retired.
“This morning I just felt like it’s something that should be done,” said Blake. “I know he is going to be dearly missed, but I hope this can honor him.”
Kersey is survived by his wife, Teri, and four daughters. He was 52.