Former National Basketball Association forward Orlando Woolridge died at his parents’ home in Mansfield, Louisiana, yesterday, the coroner’s office said. He was 52.
Woolridge had been under hospice care “for a couple of weeks” due to a chronic heart condition, Desoto Parish Deputy Coroner Billy Locke said in a telephone interview.
Woolridge played 13 seasons with seven teams after being drafted No. 6 out of the University of Notre Dame by the Chicago Bulls in 1981 and averaged 16 points and 4.3 rebounds a game for his career. He was suspended during the 1987-88 NBA season for substance abuse.
Woolridge also played for the New Jersey Nets, Los Angeles Lakers, Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons, Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers. He went on to coach in the Women’s NBA and the American Basketball Association. He was inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in 2010.
In March, the 6-foot-9 Woolridge was arrested on charges of stealing aluminum tubing from a drill site in Louisiana. He was charged with theft of more than $1,500, according to Patrick Cobbs, chief deputy of the Desoto Parish Sheriff’s Office in Mansfield, Louisiana.