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NBA Player Orlando Woolridge Dead at 52

Last night the basketball world lost one of its own, as former Notre Dame and Chicago Bulls forward Orlando Woolridge was pronounced dead at his parents’ home in Mansfield, La. According to the Shreveport Times, Woolridge had been under hospice care for a chronic heart condition.

Woolridge, a 2010 inductee into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame, starred at Mansfield High in western Louisiana before going on to help Notre Dame make it to the Final Four in 1978. A prolific scorer, Woolridge averaged double figures his last three years at Notre Dame.

In 1981 Woolridge was selected sixth overall by the Chicago Bulls and while he never was noted for his defense, his prolific athletic ability at 6-9 brought him much success on the offensive end of the court during his five seasons with the team. Unfortunately, Woolridge’s career was never the same after his suspension for substance abuse in 1986, and he eventually retired after the 1993-1994 season. During his 13-year career, he played for a number of teams, including the Nets, Lakers and Nuggets. He was also head coach of the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks in 1998 and 1999 and more recently was a coach in the ABA.

“He was a good person,” Timberwolves assistant T.R. Dunn told USA Today. “He was a really good offensive player, athletic, could run the floor, score the basketball. He had a pretty solid career. Just a fun-loving, athletic guy. Just sad news.”

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