Book about Longwood’s Jerome Kersey coming this fall

Published 1:33 pm Monday, July 19, 2021

An All-American, 17-year NBA veteran, and the namesake of Longwood’s home basketball court in Willett Hall, Lancer alumnus Jerome Kersey’s inspiring story will soon be told in a new book that has been decades in the making.

Started by former Longwood sports information director Hoke Currie, authored by prominent Portland sports writer Kerry Eggers and overseen by Longwood alumnus Rohn Brown, “Jerome Kersey: Overcoming The Odds” profiles Kersey from his humble upbringing in Clarksville to his basketball breakout at Longwood and his decorated NBA career.

And notably, just as Kersey made Longwood his launchpad to NBA stardom, so too did his soon-to-be-published biography get its start on campus.

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What began in the late 1990s as a passion project for Currie, Longwood’s sports information director from 1979-97, turned into a full-scale book project four years ago and is now just months away from its first run of publishing. Currie started the project more than 20 years ago, interviewing dozens of people about Kersey’s life. In 2016 he turned his materials over to Brown, who assembled the four-person team that eventually pushed the biography across the finish line.

That book team includes Brown himself, who now serves as president of the Lancer Club Advisory Board; Currie, who, along with his wife, Nancy, financed the project; Eggers, who covered Kersey during his playing days with the Portland Trail Blazers; and Wayne Dementi, president of Dementi Milestone Publishing in Manakin Sabot.

What those four shared in common was an admiration for not only what Kersey accomplished on the court, but who he was as a person. Readers of the book will recognize that as a common theme shared by the more than 80 people that Currie and Eggers interviewed for the book.

“When you start talking to his friends and family, you start hearing some of the same things over and over, things that get you excited about telling Jerome’s story,” Brown said, a Longwood classmate of Kersey’s from 1980-84.

“It didn’t make a difference whether it was somebody who knew him when he was a kid or played with him in the NBA; they described the same person, the same traits. His fame and fortune did not change him.”