Former Syracuse Orangemen great Dwayne “Pearl” Washington has died at the age of 52. According to his family, Washington was fighting a brain tumor since the summer of 2015. The hoop legend left a huge impact on the game of basketball in New York City as one of the first ballers many people recognized due to his toughness and ability to be crafty with the ball, which often drew comparisons with fellow NBA legend Earl “The Pearl” Monroe.
Born and raised in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn, New York, Monroe was the big man on campus at the legendary Boys & Girls High School. This is where he became one of the nation’s most sought after prospects, in the class of 1983. After committing and signing to Syracuse, the coach who recruited him, Jim Boeheim, said the program was changed forever. Dwayne finished his tenure at Syracuse as three-time first team All Big East member and conference tournament MVP in 1986.
Washington went to be selected as the 13th overall pick of the New Jersey Nets in the 1986 NBA Draft. Washington played two seasons with New Jersey, averaging 8.6 points and 4.2 assists per game in 1986-87 and 9.3 points and 3.0 assists per game in 1987-88. He played his final NBA season with the Miami Heat in 1988-89, after the Heat selected him with the 17th pick in the 1988 expansion draft. Washington averaged 7.6 points and 4.2 assists per game that season. For his career, Washington had 256 steals and 733 assists in 194 games
Washington’s significance in the game of basketball will forever live on as he’s constantly mentioned in debates among NYC’s greatest hoopers to ever represent the city. Prayers goes out to his family, and may his legacy live on.