Thursday, April 21, 2016

Prayers For Pearl

Syracuse legend Dwayne "Pearl" Washington died Tuesday after a battle with brain cancer. Pearl was 52.

You saw this year's team wearing shirts bearing his name during their surprising run to the Final Four, as part of the fundraising effort to pay for his medical care.

He played for Syracuse from 1983-1986 and was the first real star the school had. His battles with Patrick Ewing and Georgetown were part of what helped build the Big East into the best conference in the country.

It was Pearl who helped blaze the trail of top recruits like Rony Seikaly, Sherman Douglas, Derrick Coleman and Billy Owens to make their way to cold, snowy Syracuse to play for a curmudgeonly coach.

He never reached his potential in the NBA, playing only three years of the Nets and Heat.

It was with the Nets that Pearl played alongside Duane Washington and due to their similar names, they were often confused.
People thought Pearl had a drug problem, but that was Duane.
In fact, ran a picture of Duane with the article announcing Pearl's death.

Even though he never had the pro career he wanted he was always remembered fondly at Syracuse, and became a fixture around the program.

I saw him once at the bookstore, Dick Vitale was doing a book-signing there ahead of broadcasting a Big Monday game, and Pearl walked in. Vitale stopped his canned speech about young people and began to talk about Pearl as a player and as a person. I skipped class that day.

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