HANG TIME BIG CITY — Former NBA point guard and legendary collegian Dwayne “Pearl” Washington died today at age 52, according to Syracuse.com. Washington was hospitalized last year with a brain tumor, for which he had been receiving treatment.
A native of Brooklyn, Washington played at Syracuse, where he was a consensus All-American averaging 15.7 points and 6.7 assists over his Syracuse career, where he played a crowd-pleasing style during the heyday of the Big East Conference.
As brilliant as his collegiate career was, Washington never reached that level of success in the NBA. Washington was taken 13th overall in the 1986 NBA Draft by the New Jersey Nets. After two seasons with the Nets, the Miami Heat selected Washington in the expansion draft. Washington played one season with Miami, averaging 7.6 points and 4.2 assists over 54 games, before being released.
As Washington told the New York Times in 2003: “I had a God-given talent and I was always ahead of everybody else in high school and in college. But when I got to that next level, guys were above me. So at that point, you have to say either ‘I’m going to work at it to become a good player in the NBA,’ or, ‘This ain’t for me anymore.’ I decided that it wasn’t for me. I didn’t love it enough to really work hard at it anymore. But I have no regrets.”