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Dwayne Alonzo "Pearl" Washington (January 6, 1964 – April 20, 2016) was an American college and professional basketball player. He was a 6'2" (1.88 m), 190-lb (86-kg) guard.

Dwayne Washington
Personal information
Born(1964-01-06)January 6, 1964
Brooklyn, New York City, New York
DiedApril 20, 2016(2016-04-20) (aged 52)
The Bronx, New York City, New York
Listed height6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Listed weight190 lb (86 kg)
Career information
High schoolBoys and Girls
CollegeSyracuse (1983–1986)
NBA draft1986 / Round: 1 / Pick: 13th overall
Selected by the New Jersey Nets
Playing career1986–1991
PositionPoint guard
Number1, 31
Career history
19861988New Jersey Nets
1988–1989Miami Heat
1989–1990Rapid City Thrillers
1990–1991San Jose Jammers
Career highlights and awards
Career statistics
Points1,660 (8.6 ppg)
Stats at

Washington grew up in the Brownsville section of the New York City borough of Brooklyn, where he acquired his nickname as an eight-year-old in a taunting comparison to Earl "the Pearl" Monroe.[1] He was a playground phenomenon from Boys and Girls High School in Brooklyn, and was rated as the number one overall high school player in the United States in 1983.[2] He brought his flashy play to Syracuse University and the Carrier Dome. "The Pearl" was the master of the "shake and bake", in which he would leave his defensive opposition standing still while he drove by them for a layup.

Washington was drafted by the New Jersey Nets in the first round (13th pick) of the 1986 NBA draft. In two seasons with the Nets he averaged 9 points per game. In 1988 the Miami Heat selected him in their expansion draft. He played 54 games for the Heat before being released. Following his release, Washington played for the Rapid City Thrillers and San Jose Jammers in the Continental Basketball Association.[3]

Washington had surgery on August 27, 2015, at Crouse Hospital in Syracuse to address a malignant brain tumor.[4] He died of cancer on April 20, 2016, at the age of 52.[5]


  1. ^ Vecsey, George. "SPORTS OF THE TIMES; The Pearl Fits In At Syracuse", The New York Times, March 9, 1984. Accessed December 5, 2007. "This part of the legend does survive: Washington admits that when he was 8 years old at the Howard Housing Project in Brownsville, his elders asked him: Who do you think you are, the Pearl?"
  2. ^ hot
  3. ^ 1991-92 Official CBA Guide and Register, page 329
  4. ^ Christian Red and Kevin Armstrong (2015-08-31). "Syracuse basketball star Dwayne 'Pearl' Washington has malignant brain tumor". Retrieved 2015-08-31.
  5. ^ AP Staff (2016-04-20). "Former Syracuse basketball star Pearl Washington dies at 52". Retrieved 2016-04-20.

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