We are sad to report that American college and professional basketball legend Dwayne “Pearl” Washington has died at the age of 52.
Known for putting Syracuse on the map (as far as basketball goes), the university announced his death in a news release and Pearl’s family has confirmed. According to reports, the athlete was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor last Summer and had recently had surgery on it.
Washington’s most memorable moment at Syracuse came on Jan. 21, 1984. With a home crowd of 30,293 watching, Washington made a running 45-foot shot at the buzzer to give the Orange a 75-73 win over Boston College. Washington, who finished with team-high 20 points and seven assists, held both his arms high in triumph as he sprinted off the court and straight into the tunnel leading to the locker room. With the win, Syracuse remained the only undefeated team in the Big East.
”We never had a shot like that for or against us in my 15 years at Syracuse,”coach Jim Boeheim told The New York Times on Jan. 23, 1984. ”When I got home, I couldn’t go to sleep, so I watched the replay of the Virginia-Clemson game and then watched Washington’s shot five or six times. The more I watched, the more I thought it was a miracle. But Dwayne makes miracles happen. He thinks he can make every shot he takes. He hasn’t been playing like a freshman but like a veteran who has played the game all his life.”
He went on to play for the NBA’s New Jersey Nets and Miami Heat before he was released and continued his basketball career in the Continental Basketball Association.
We are praying for Pearl’s family and loved ones at this time. May he rest in peace.