Orlando Woolridge, the sixth overall pick in the 1981 NBA draft, has passed away. He was 52. According to DeSoto Parish Chief Deputy Coroner Billy Locke, Woolridge passed while under hospice care for a chronic heart condition.
Woolridge was drafted by the Chicago Bulls and averaged 22.9 points per game in the 1984-85 season, becoming the last player to lead the Bulls in scoring before Michael Jordan took command of the team. The 6-foot-9 forward was always known as a versatile scorer and played for the Lakers, Nets, 76ers, Nuggets, Bucks, and Pistons in addition to playing for the Bulls. Over the course of his 13 year career, Woolridge averaged 16 points a game and also participated in one of the greatest slam dunk contests of all time in 1985 competing with Jordan, Dominique Wilkins, and Julius Erving.
Woolridge was suspended in 1987 for violating the NBA’s substance abuse policy, but was able to overcome those demons to return and play eight more seasons in the league ending with Philadelphia in the 1993-94 season. He then went on to play two seasons professionally in Italy, and coached the Los Angeles Sparks of the WNBA.
Rest in peace Mr. Woolridge.