Jerome Kersey, a 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 at a hospital in suburban Portland, Ore. He was 52.
The Trail Blazers announced the death of Kersey, who spent one season with the Lakers, 1996-97.
Kersey died of a pulmonary thromboembolism after a blood clot broke from his left calf and traveled to his lungs, Dr. Larry Lewman of the Oregon state medical examiner's office told the Portland Oregonian newspaper.
Kersey averaged 10.3 points and 5.5 rebounds in 17 seasons in the NBA with Portland, Golden State, the Lakers, Seattle, San Antonio and Milwaukee. He helped the Trail Blazers reach the NBA Finals in 1990 and 1992, playing alongside Terry Porter, Clyde Drexler, Kevin Duckworth and Buck Williams.
The 6-foot-7, 215-pound Kersey had his best season in 1987-88, averaging 19.2 points and 8.3 rebounds. He played in 1,153 regular-season games, also averaging 1.9 assists and 1.2 steals.
He retired from basketball in 2001 and was an assistant coach with Milwaukee in 2004-05 under Porter. He served as a team ambassador for the Trail Blazers and appeared on broadcasts for Comcast SportsNet Northwest.
Kersey was born June 26, 1962, in Clarksville, Va. At Longwood College in Farmville, Va., then a Division II school, Kersey averaged 17 points and 11.3 rebounds. He was a second-round pick by the Blazers in the 1984 draft.
Kersey is survived by his wife, Teri, of Lake Oswego, Ore.