The News & Record
South Boston News & Record
and Mecklenburg Sun
Home   •   News   •   Sports   •   Classifieds   •   Community   •   Health   •   Entertainment   •   Obituaries   •   Opinions   •   Weather
Advertising | Contact | Register
Advanced Search
News

Remines convicted of child porn charges

Confroy recognized by Halifax Town Council, Bosiger named vice mayor

Police probe bomb threat at South Boston industry


Sports

(Not) playing it day-by-day

With covid numbers rising, decisions to play to be made on a week-by-week basis

Community


Opinion


A&E

Sports

College buddy remembers Kersey

SoVaNow.com / December 24, 2020

Several people are now working on a book to honor the life and death of Jerome Kersey.

A native of Clarksville and Longwood University graduate, Kersey will always be fondly remembered as a Portland Trail Blazer. The franchise selected Kersey in the second round of the 1984 NBA Draft upon leaving Longwood College. Kersey enjoyed a 17-year NBA career with five teams; other than the Trail Blzaers, he played for Golden State, Los Angeles, Seattle, San Antonio — where he won a championship — and Milwaukee.

The book will feature many people that were part of Kersey’s life as he grew from child dreamer to 1984 Division II Player of the Year, to NBA champion. On the local front, someone who knew Kersey well was Halifax County High School athletics director Allen Lawter.

Kersey and Lawter were good friends. The friendship developed at Longwood and would continue until Kersey’s death.

Lawter said Kersey was a special person and related the first time the two met in competition.

“I played basketball in high school; Jerome and I played against each other,” Lawter said. “I graduated in ’81. So, his senior year he came up, actually his senior year is the year we opened up the gym at our school and we played Bluestone in a 1:30 ball game.”

Lawter referring to when HCHS opened its facility in 1980. With a color of Carolina Blue and White, a balcony and roll-away goals the Comets gymnasium was something to marvel at the time.

“The first ballgame in that gym. I actually played,” Lawter said. “I was a lot better at baseball than I was basketball. I was a defensive guy, ball handler: I wasn’t much of a shooter. I considered Jerome a good friend.”

Lawter said once he arrived at Longwood, he and Jerome quickly became friends. Both of the student-athletes – Lawter played baseball for the Lancers – would end up living in the same dorm.

“He and I lived on the same hall,” said Lawter. “I don’t know if you remember Doug Toombs, he’s a little older than we are, he was a senior at Longwood — of course he went to Bluestone — Doug and Jerome knew each other and we would hang out.”

Toombs, a catcher with the Lancers, was named a Division III All-American as a freshman in 1980 after hitting a school-record .565. Lawter was the Virginia College Division Player of the Year and a Division II All-America in 1985. Both men would go on to be named to Longwood’s Sports Hall Of Fame, as would Kersey.

Lawter said it wasn’t Kersey’s ball game or game talents that made him so unique to so many people. It was simply the way he carried himself respectful, caring and determined.

“Jerome is as good a person as you ever want to meet and I ain’t talking about ball player, I’m talking about as good a person,” Lawter said. “Matter of fact probably three years, four years after he went to Portland he came home and I’d just had my twins and had brought one of them home. And Jerome stopped by to see how they were doing.”

Lawter said when the twins were born they were kept at the hospital because they were premature.

“He called me; got my number called me and said I just heard you had twins. They actually were at the hospital for a month; six weeks premature. And he said I just wanna check on you, mind if I stop by.”

Lawter and his wife had just brought one of the twins home at the time. Saying of Jerome with his daughter, “He held her and we talked.”

Lawter made the point that Kersey took his friendships seriously. He said the friendship was appreciated by both men.

“I felt like if I had needed something bad enough and called Jerome, he would have done anything to make it happen. That’s the kind of person he was and the kind of friend he was,” Lawter said.

Like most people who knew Kersey, his death —which was sudden — was just hard to comprehend when it happened. Kersey’s passing elicited feelings of disbelief and shock among NBA players, their families and fans of the game alike.

“It hit me hard when he passed away, just kind of knowing the type of person he was,” said Lawter. “I kept up with him when he was at Portland; I rooted for him every ball game. I don’t care who he played; I was rooting for Jerome. Just think the world of him.”

Lawter said one thing Kersey will always be remembered for was his work ethic. It’s something that Lawter wanted Kersey to confer with his Comet student-athletes but that meeting would never happen.

“We talked about how hard he had to work to get where he was and did what he did,” Lawter said. “I always talked about trying to get him here to talk with our kids just never did.

“Jerome told me while he was home that time when he came to check on me, check on my kids, my little ones. You know he said, ‘”I get out and run five miles a morning … and I’m going Jerome … because when I get the opportunity I want to be ready for it.’”

“His work ethic was second to none. The things he did at Longwood were just amazing. I didn’t miss many games unless we were playing ball, late in his season, early in ours. I didn’t miss many games when he was playing at Longwood.”



Advertising Flyer

Find out how you can reach more customers by advertising with The News & Record and The Mecklenburg Sun -- in print and online.