Jerome Kersey, who played 17 years in the NBA–going to the finals twice with a stacked Portland Trail Blazers team led by Dream-Teamer Clyde Drexler–died this week at 52. The 6’7″ Kersey played inspired, dogged basketball, never seeming to forget his humble (basketball-wise) origins: Kersey played Division II basketball for Longwood College before making the unlikely and giant leap to the NBA in 1984.
It was no surprise in retrospect that Kersey was able to leap like that. Averaging 10.3 points and 5.5 rebounds over his career, extraordinary leaping was a big part of his success. (He was second to Michael Jordan in the 1987 NBA dunk contest.) Around the league, Kersey was known as one of the all around good guys, whose tireless play inspired teammates, fans and opponents alike. Cause of death was not immediately known.