Syracuse great Pearl Washington passes away at age of 52

Washington was first diagnosed with brain cancer in 1995. The disease was in remission for several years, but doctors diagnosed a recurrence last summer and Washington had surgery in August.

In this March 6, 1986 file photo, Dwayne "Pearl" Washington (31) of Syracuse University drives around Dana Barros (21) of Boston College during the Big East tournament at New York's Madison Square Garden. Washington, who went from New York City playground wonder to Big East star for Jim Boeheim at Syracuse, passed away at the age of 52.   -  AP

Dwayne "Pearl" Washington, a basketball superstar at Syracuse University who went on to a brief NBA career, passed away of brain cancer at the age of 52, Syracuse officials said on Wednesday.





Washington was first diagnosed with brain cancer in 1995. The disease was in remission for several years, but doctors diagnosed a recurrence last summer and Washington had surgery in August.

"There was no better guy and there's nobody who has meant more to our basketball program than Dwayne Washington," longtime Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said last year.

This year's Syracuse team honored Washington by wearing warm-up shirts with "Pearl" and Washington's jersey number "31" inscribed on them.

Washington, a playmaker known for ball-handling skills that included a devastating cross-over dribble, played for Syracuse from 1983 to 1986, leaving after his junior season when he was chosen by the then-New Jersey Nets with the 13th overall selection in the 1986 NBA draft.

He played two years for New Jersey and one for the Miami Heat before announcing his retirement in 1989.

Washington averaged 15.7 points and 6.7 assists per game at Syracuse and was chosen as a consensus All-American after the 1984-85 season. With Washington on the team, the Orange went to the NCAA Tournament three times and posted a 71-24 record.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo offered his condolences to Washington's family -- and legion of fans -- on Twitter.

"My heart goes out to the family, friends and many adoring fans of Brooklyn native and Syracuse basketball legend, Pearl Washington," Cuomo wrote.

Support Sportstar


Dear Reader,

Support our journalism — where text and pictures intermingle so seamlessly — and help us scale up your experience as the world changes around us. Your contribution is vital to our brand of uninfluenced, boots-on-the-ground reportage that’s worth your while. Clickbait sensationalism is not for us, but editorial independence is — we owe it to you.

  Dugout videos