Skip to main content

Dwayne ‘Pearl’ Washington dies of brain cancer

Former Syracuse basketball star Dwayne “Pearl” Washington has died of brain cancer.
  • Author:
  • Publish date:

Get breaking news and SI’s biggest stories instantly. Download the new Sports Illustrated app (iOS or Android) and personalize your experience by following your favorite teams and SI writers.

Former Syracuse basketball star Dwayne “Pearl” Washington has died of brain cancer, his family confirmed to on Wednesday.

Washington underwent surgery on the brain tumor in August. Washington originally discovered and treated the tumor in 1995, but last year he suffered a relapse of the cancer. 

Washington played for Syracuse from 1983 to 1986, leaving after his junior season when he was chosen by the Nets with the No. 13 pick in the 1986 NBA draft. He played two years in New Jersey and one in Miami before announcing his retirement in 1989, saying he had lost his desire for the game after three professional seasons.

SI Recommends

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

Madison Square Garden, long the home of the Big East tournament, paid tribute to Washington on Wednesday.

Syracuse men’s basketball players honored Washington this season by wearing warmup shirts with “Pearl” and his number 31 written on them.