Former Barometer Writer, Kerry Eggers, and His New Book

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Photo provided by Kerry Eggers

Photo of Kerry Eggers

Hannah Lull , Sports Contributor

Kerry Eggers knew he wanted to be a writer since 6th grade. His dad was a sports information director at Oregon State University and he used to watch him work, slowly becoming inspired to someday do something similar.

Eggers graduated from OSU in 1975 and during his years here, he worked as editor from 1974-75, managing editor from 1973-74, and sports editor from 1972-73 for the Barometer. Since graduating, Eggers continued his sports writing by publishing books, working for the Oregon Journal, the Oregonian, and the Portland Tribune.

Eggers has written eight sports-focused books, including Clyde “The Glide” Drexler: My Life in Basketball (2004), Oregon State University Football Vault (2009), and Jail Blazers: How the Portland Trail Blazers Became the Bad Boys of Basketball (2018). His newest edition, “Jerome Kersey: Overcoming the Odds” was just released on October 5.

His newest book is a biography on Jerome Kersey, a National Basketball Player who played for the Portland Trail Blazers, where Eggers writes about his story of being one of the least likely of basketball stars to succeed as a professional athlete.

“His work ethic was fantastic. He was always the guy that people underestimated. That’s the title of the book, ‘Jerome Kersey: Overcoming the Odds’. He overcame great odds to make the NBA,” Eggers says.

Kersey was raised by his grandparents in a small town in Virginia where they influenced him greatly, especially his grandmother, May.

“He didn’t have a lot of money growing up but he had a lot of love around him,” Eggers says. “They taught Jerome to be polite, to treat people right and with respect, to work hard at everything he did. Those attributes carried through to the end of Jerome’s life.”

Kersey started playing in grade school, but began to standout as an athlete his junior and senior year in high school. He then took his skills to Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia but since he entered the basketball world relatively late, he didn’t get much notice from the NBA.

“In college he became a good player but was very lightly recruited out of high school,” Eggers says. “By the time he was senior in college, he wasn’t a well-known name but he kept fighting and kept working and got discovered by the Trail Blazers.”

The most important attribute Kersey learned from his time at Longwood was “to compete every second” and he took this value with him to the NBA.

Kersey was drafted in 1984 with the 46th pick and taken to the second round by the Trail Blazers. “Not a lot of second round picks make the NBA but he did. He played 17 years,” Eggers explains.

Kersey worked hard to better himself as a player. During the first three years in the NBA, he spent extra hours after practices, off days, and during the summers to perfect his skills. He specifically wanted to improve his offensive game so we worked closely with assistant coach Rick Adelman and shooting coach Geoff Petrie.

“He went from being a sub-par perimeter shooter to a satisfactory one through the latter half of his career,” Eggers says.

Kersey played 11 seasons out of his 17 years on the team and was well-known for his dunking and the high energy he brought to every game. He was a starter for the 1990 and 1992 Finals and also won a championship ring with the San Antonio Spurs in 1999. Kersey averaged 10.3 points and 5.5 rebounds in 1,153 season games throughout his career.

Kersey remained humble as he entered fame. “He never carried himself like a star. He didn’t act entitled as so many professional athletes do. He connected with people on a personal level, which again, some pro athletes aren’t willing to do,” says Eggers.

Kersey made sure to still support his team after he retired playing, as he served as an ambassador for the Blazers. He continued working as the club’s director of alumni relations until the age of 52, where he passed away due to pulmonary embolism.

“He was a really respected person,” Eggers says. “He was always the guy that people thought was a terrific person and a great representative of the community.”

Eggers got to know Kersey pretty well during his 1990’s NBA fame as he wrote for the Oregonian at the time and covered the Trail Blazers quite frequently.

“Jerome was actually the only professional athlete that I ever invited over to my place for dinner. He and the mother of his little daughter, who was 1-year-old at the time, came over,” Eggers recalls. “My boys who were very young were thrilled, of course, because he was a big star. We had a nice evening.”

Eggers believes his book is a beneficial read for students. Kersey’s story can be motivating for students to excel in their own sports or just in everyday life. Eggers hopes to sell around 10,000 copies of his new book, where the proceeds will go to Portland’s Jerome Kersey Foundation and the Jerome Kersey ‘84 men’s basketball scholarship at Longwood University in Virginia.