(PORTLAND, ORE.) – A new stunning light display is being created to honor the late Blazer, Jerome Kersey. With 3,800 lights, the massive Christmas decoration called “JK25 Santa Hat” will be on display at a West Hills home, and will be visible from downtown and southeast Portland. The light display is in the final stages of installation, and will be turned on this Friday, November 13th.
The project’s champion, Ron Sloy, a close friend of Kersey’s for over 3 decades, wanted to honor the Blazer forward in a special way. “Jerome was an incredible man both on and off the basketball court,” says Sloy. “Not only was he a leading player for the Blazers, he was a valuable member of the community, always reaching out to enrich the lives of others.” Kersey supported local youth groups and regularly gathered leftover food after Blazer games and personally delivered it to the local homeless.
Since Kersey’s passing in February of last year, there has been discussion in the Portland basketball community about retiring Kersey’s jersey number, 25, in recognition of his epic performance with the Blazers. Kersey’s record was exceptional across the game, including: games and minutes played, scoring, rebounding, assists, steals, field goals, and blocked shots. Bill Schonely, longtime Blazers announcer, believes Kersey was a gifted athlete who made an impression on everyone he met,“Jerome was loved by everyone. This unique display will allow Portlanders to celebrate his legacy.”
Crafting the gigantic holiday display was a feat of engineering that required precise planning due to size, design complexity, and challenging site issues. The 32’ feet high, 34’ wide display includes a giant “JK25” Santa hat featuring 3,800 lights set on an aluminum frame and mounted on the front of a West Hills home. Designed and built by Hanset Stainless, the display took six weeks to construct, and a week to install. “This truly was a unique and challenging project,” says Shane Crunchie, project manager for Hanset Stainless. “Our whole team was excited to be a part of such a special project to honor a great member of the Portland community.” Crunchie thinks that the JK25 Santa hat will become a new Christmas icon in the Portland skyline.
Sloy will be raising the display every year to remember his pal. “I hope that Portlanders will join me in recognizing all that Jerome did for the Blazers and for our community,” he says. “Jerome’s number will be hanging high in our night sky for all to see. I hope it will also be hanging from the rafters before too long.”
If you’d like to engage in the conversation around retiring Kersey’s jersey number by Tweet #JK25 or #retirejerseyJK25.