A key part of the Portland teams that were contending for titles in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Kersey finally got a championship ring as his career was coming to a close.
Kersey was a solid NBA player, usually a starter but not a superstar, very good in all areas of the game but not brilliant in one part, and maybe closer to an All-Star than a role player.
Jerome Kersey was born in Clarksville, Virigina and went to high school at Bluestone Senior in Skipworth, Virginia. He wasn’t headed to a big college basketball program as he went to Longwood for four years.
He did star against the competition and also had the highest rebounding numbers of anyone in Division II NCAA basketball in 1984. He had 14.2 rebounds that year, and his points average in his senior season was 19.6.
Out of the college basketball spotlight he didn’t have many chances to show scouts what he could do but Portland was interested.
It wouldn’t be the first time they made a great pick in the second round as they selected Kersey with pick 46 of the 1984 NBA draft.
A small forward with a strong body, the listed numbers for Kersey were 6-7 and 245 pounds. He helped make Portland a very tough team with a lot of size.
In his rookie year, Kersey had a small role and scored 6.1 points per game. The next couple of years his playing time and role increased and by season 1987 he was in double-figures for scoring with 12.3 points per game.
Statistically his best year was in 1988. Kersey produced 19.2 points, 8.3 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game. He shot 49.9% from the field.
Something that Kersey did during his career was lift for the important games and the playoffs. During the regular season he never had one season of averaging 20 points or more but he did it twice during the playoffs. The 1990 playoffs were an example of Kersey playing at his best. He averaged 20.7 points for the 21 playoff games that year.
He wasn’t just shooting the ball then, Kersey was getting over 8 rebounds, around a block and nearly 2 steals per game. He was a warrior and playoff basketball was where he wanted to be.
Portland did get to the NBA Finals, and Kersey was an important part then, but by 1995 it was clear that Portland needed to make some changes.
They allowed him to go in the expansion draft. The new Toronto Raptors selected him but didn’t keep him around. He would sign with Golden State but wasn’t a good fit and only played a season there.
Kersey would stay out west for the next two years as he joined the L.A. Lakers and then Seattle. With his career winding down, Kersey signed with the San Antonio Spurs in 1999. He was veteran depth for the team as they won the NBA title. The Spurs didn’t need him to star, just to play occasional minutes and make some veteran plays.
Despite being a lot slower than when he was at his prime in Portland, Kersey could still get around a steal per game despite playing limited minutes.
Jerome Kersey finished his career with a season in Milwaukee playing for the Bucks.