Chicago Colleges: Orlando Woolridge
Former NBA player Orlando Woolridge, 52, was pronounced dead Thursday night at his parents’ home in Mansfield, La. The coroner said he had been under hospice care for a chronic heart condition.
And from there, the story was filled out with the facts of Woolridge’s life: A 6-foot-9 star at Notre Dame, he was a member of the 1978 Final Four team. The 6th overall pick of the Chicago Bulls in the 1981 Draft, he played for seven NBA teams over 13 seasons before concluding his pro career after two years in Italy in ’96.
And then the transgressions: a suspension for substance abuse while playing for New Jersey during the 1987-88 season. And, 25 years later, almost mysteriously, after returning home following coaching stints in the WNBA and ABA came an arrest this past February on a charge of theft for allegedly stealing aluminum lines used to transfer water to natural gas drilling sites, material valued at $2,000 and sold for scrap.
By then, Orlando Woolridge was dying.
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ABOUT THIS BLOG
Powers is an award-winning journalist and has been reporting on preps, colleges and pros for publications throughout the Midwest since 1997. He joined ESPNChicago in May 2009 and lives in Chicago.
Rittenberg joined ESPN.com in 2008 after four years at the Daily Herald, where he covered sports at Notre Dame, Northwestern, DePaul and several other colleges. He lives in Chicago and writes for the Big Ten blog.
Bennett joined ESPN.com in August 2008 after nine years at The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Ky., where he covered college sports and the University of Louisville beat. He lives in Louisville and writes for the Big Ten blog.
Fortuna joined ESPN.com in 2011 after working for MLB.com and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, where he covered college sports. He grew up in New York and is a Penn State graduate. Fortuna's Notre Dame blog is here.
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