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Former NBA player Orlando Woolridge dies

Jun 1, 2012, 11:24 AM EDT

Orlando Woolridge Getty Images

Orlando Wooridge, who had a solid 13-year NBA career as a versatile forward, has died at the age of 52.

He was at his parent’s home in Louisiana where he was in hospice care for an ongoing heart condition, according to the Shreveport Times.

Woolridge went to the Final Four in college at Notre Dame then was the No. 6 pick overall by the Chicago Bulls in 1981. His best years were with the Bulls and he averaged 22 points a game in 1985. He was the star of that team when the Bulls drafted Michael Jordan, but the two never meshed. I will say this, the guy knew how to thrown down the dunk. His career went on to include stops with the Nets, Lakers, Nuggets, Pistons, Bucks and finally the 76ers.

Woolridge also battled a substance abuse problem and was suspended most of the 1988-89 season for violating the league’s drug policy. He returned the next season with the Showtime Lakers as the scoring punch off the bench. After his NBA career he went on to play a couple of years in Europe, including with Benetton Treviso under a young coach Mike D’Antoni.

Earlier this year Woolridge had been arrested for stealing aluminum water pipes that he sold as scrap.

But that’s not how we’ll remember him.

  1. dalucks - Jun 1, 2012 at 11:38 AM

    RIP Orlando Woolridge

    I am disappointed how tasteless and disrespectful NBC is to allow an article about the death of a person to end with a prior arrest earlier in the year. We reflect on a his accomplishments and that is your final thought. Great ending idiots. That is very distasteful.

  2. blueintown - Jun 1, 2012 at 11:43 AM

    When the Bulls drafted MJ, I remember being excited because I thought he’d be the perfect “Robin” to Orlando Woolridge’s “Batman”. I guess I might have had the rolls reversed a little bit. Rest in peace, O.

  3. nightrain42 - Jun 1, 2012 at 11:44 AM

    RIP. I enjoyed watching him throw those dunks down.

  4. brianbosworthisstonecold - Jun 1, 2012 at 11:53 AM

    Stay classy ku$!. I mean Kurt.

  5. stefanovalenti - Jun 1, 2012 at 11:57 AM

    Orlando Woolridge played at Benetton under coach Mike D’Antoni in season 94/95, but Benetton lost the Final vs. Virtus Bologna 3-0. In that season, Woolridge scored 20.2 ppg, and grabbed 5.2 rebs. Then he was signed by Virtus, where he played half of a season before to be waiwed. Anyway he was an attraction of the League and people loved him. RIP Orlando.

  6. massivedick - Jun 1, 2012 at 12:16 PM

    2 summers ago he had a basketball camp at our local lifetime fitness …. how do you leap from that to stealing aluminum pipe … a shame

  7. shackdelrio - Jun 1, 2012 at 12:27 PM

    Alot of NBA players I grew up watching have died in recent years. Woolridge, Manute Bol, Armon Gilliam, Dennis Johnson, Wayman Tisdale. RIP to all.

  8. brokea$$lovesmesomeme - Jun 1, 2012 at 1:25 PM

    If that’s “not how we’ll remember him” than why did you mention it you douche? What a tool!

  9. florida76 - Jun 1, 2012 at 1:45 PM

    Very sad situation, Woolridge joins a list of athletes who became addicted to cocaine who later died of heart related problems. Even occasional use of cocaine can damage the heart.

  10. cvilleirish - Jun 1, 2012 at 1:51 PM

    I know that there will be those defending Kurt’s mentioning Orlando’s arrest, just like there were when Blair Kiel’s legal issues were brought up in articles when he recently passed, and I am not qualified to say whether these people are right or wrong. All I do know is that I had the privilege of watching both of these Notre Dame men perform live and I am grateful for that. May they both rest in peace.

  11. hojo20 - Jun 1, 2012 at 1:53 PM

    Aluminum? I guess there were no copper pipes left.

  12. 700levelvet - Jun 1, 2012 at 2:07 PM

    Let’s see……..He went to a world renowned university, on a scholarship, no less, played professional basketball, on the higest level, but was arrested for selling scrap metal, and the author is a douche?….He pissed away a great education opportunity, and all the money he made in the NBA……But the author is a douche?

  13. dexterismyhero - Jun 1, 2012 at 2:14 PM

    RIP Orlando. Go Irish!

  14. 1972wasalongtimeago - Jun 1, 2012 at 2:16 PM

    Used to love those Notre Dame teams in the late 70s with O, Kelly Tripucka, Tracy Jackson, Bill Hanzlik, Digger Phelps as HC. Was Paxson on that team too? I know, I used the words “love” and “Notre Dame” in the same sentence; but that’s because of the players, of which Orlando Woolridge was a standout.

    R.I.P. Number 0000000000rlando….. WOOOOOLLLLRidge!!!!!!

  15. 00maltliquor - Jun 1, 2012 at 2:56 PM

    Dang man, that was pretty harsh putting O on blast like that on the corner of Front St. and Shame Ave. on what will be the last thing ever said about the man here, it’s kind of like a eulogy and you put that dirty laundry that I’m pretty sure we all did not know and then end it with a…”But that’s not how we’ll remember him.” Whaaat?

    R.I.P. O. Prayers go out to you and your loved ones.

  16. ezmagic - Jun 1, 2012 at 3:17 PM

    I’m surprised Kurt didn’t blame the Orlando magic for Orlando’s death.
    RIP O and thanks for the childhood memories when the nba was much better sport to watch.

  17. bbil2012 - Jun 1, 2012 at 3:22 PM

    You were an exciting player to watch.Thanks for the memories O. Especially at ND.
    As for Kurt, you’re like any other member of the media. You just canot resist getting that little dig in there when it’s available.

  18. florida727 - Jun 1, 2012 at 5:30 PM

    “Earlier this year Woolridge had been arrested for stealing aluminum water pipes that he sold as scrap.”

    Kurt, as a rule I genuinely enjoy your work. I really do. I think you’re a gifted writer. That said, the above could have easily been left out of your post, and its absence would not have detracted one bit from the story. Everyone has “issues” (whether they acknowledge them or not). Why even bring this up? It added nothing of value to remembering “O”. In all honesty, Kurt, you should apologize to your readership for stooping to a level well below your reputation.

  19. lakerluver - Jun 1, 2012 at 5:54 PM

    Really sad. R. I. P.

  20. jziii - Jun 1, 2012 at 6:32 PM

    Very sad news. Although the first thing I wondered is, if he was dealing with chronic heart problems, why he didn’t get a heart transplant or an artificial heart. Maybe that last line about the aluminum and his apparent financial situation might have something to do with that. Or maybe there’s another explanation. Either way, very sad news. RIP O.

  21. numba1recx19 - Jun 2, 2012 at 3:38 AM

    Rest in Peace man. Successful human being, good role model.

  22. 24thesho - Jun 2, 2012 at 6:08 AM

    Hey, Kurt “The Jerk Helin! I never knew about any of those negative things about this human being whom has just passed. Thank you for providing this most useful information . Kurt, you are a complete jerk! WTF???!!!!!

    R.I.P. Oralndo Woolridge.

  23. Jecurb - Jun 3, 2012 at 5:49 AM

    That was a tasteless final comment…

    Much respect to Orlando Woolridge. RIP

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