Dwayne Alonzo “Pearl” Washington passed away this Wednesday at the age of 52. Mr. Washington went through surgery because of a brain tumor last fall. He had a successful career and trademarked a very colorful play style.

Dwayne Washington started playing basketball when he was very young. In the Boys and Girls high school in Brooklyn, he was already shining for his skills at the court. It was around this time when someone compared his play style with that of Earl “The Pearl” Monroe and this eventually gave him a nickname. He was ranked as the number one high school basketball player in 1983.

Syracuse basketball legend and Brooklyn native Dwayne “Pearl” Washington. Credit: WNYC

When he entered the Syracuse University, he quickly made a name for himself. Dwayne displayed his spectacular basketball to the audience attending the Carrier Dome and he mastered the “shake and bake” move which complimented perfectly his flashy play style and let both opponents and fans in awe. On March 2, 1996, Syracuse retired the No.31 jersey which was the number Washington bared on his back.

The New Jersey Nets drafted him in the first round as a guard and he averaged 9 points in 2 seasons. Then, he was recruited by Miami Heat in 1988 where he played 54 games before being released. After leaving the NBA, Dwayne “Pearl” Washington played for the Rapid City Thrillers and the San Jose Jammers in the Continental Basketball Association.

He had surgery in August 2015 at the Crouse Hospital to treat a malignant brain tumor and according to his family, he died on April 20, 2016.

Twitter exploded with fans and famous people saying their farewells including Chris Rock who is a former classmate of Washington and Earving Magic Johnson who said: “Rest in peace to the best ball handler I’ve seen in my lifetime”. The Syracuse University, New Jersey Jets, and Miami heats have all stated that they are all mourning the passing of one of the greatest men who had put a foot on the court.

Source: Syracuse