Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
GREENBURGH, N.Y. — On May 6, Jerome Jordan checked into a Serbian hospital after his appendix burst while he was asleep in his apartment.
“I was in the hospital for 11 days,” Jordan, a 7-footer from Kingston, Jamaica who idolized Michael Jordan and fellow Jamaican Patrick Ewing as a kid, said Thursday after Knicks practice. “I was in intensive care and they moved me around a couple times. It was really scary.”
Adding to the confusion was that no one around him spoke English.
“You wake up one morning and somebody be there and the night they would be gone, you don’t know what’s going on,” he said. “So [it was] tough.”
Six months later, Jordan is a member of the Knicks, having signed a two-year contract worth $1 million.
“I think I rebound, block shots, defensive first,” he said after participating in a five-on-five scrimmage. “And I think I can shoot the ball pretty decent and mix it up down low. So I think I bring a little bit of everything to this team.’
Jordan has family in both The Bronx and Newark and said he’s been going back and forth to New York since he was 2.
“it’s just great to be here,” he said.
During his four-year career at Tulsa, Jordan averaged 11.3 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.5 blocks.
In 2010, the Knicks paid the Milwaukee Bucks $1 million for Jordan and then stashed him in Europe, where he played in both Serbia and Slovenia. For KK Krka of Slovenia, he played for former Phoenix Suns assistant Nenad Trajkovic.
It took some time for Jordan to join the Knicks because they had to buy out his Slovenian contract and also help him obtain a work visa.
“He went overseas and made great progress,” Knicks interim GM Glen Grunwald said Monday. “He had a little setback last summer with appendicitis. It took him a while to come back from that. Misho Ostarcevic, one of our European scouts has watched him extensively, thinks he may be ready to get into an NBA game. We’ll see. He’s going to get his opportunity. If he works and plays hard he may get a chance. He’s a prospect we hope someday will develop into a player.”
Jordan was in Serbia last May when his appendix burst.
“I lost some good weight and strength because I wasn’t able to do anything,” Jordan said. “It just hindered me from doing a lot of stuff on the court and in the weight room.”
Jordan lost 10 pounds during the ordeal and said the NBA lockout “actually helped me” because it gave him time to recover from his surgery and work on his game. He signed with the Slovenian team in July.
“I just took that time [during the lockout] to go over there and keep learning the game,” he said.
Now he’s in camp where he hopes to serve as a backup to 7-foot-1 center Tyson Chandler, who appears to have about an inch on Jordan as well as 10 years of NBA experience.
“If I’m not playing against him, I’ll be watching him and trying to learn as much as I can,” Jordan said. “I’ll pick his brain, how to do certain things and just how he gets stuff done on the court.”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.