In the annals of Syracuse Orange basketball lore there are many beloved former players. Very few more beloved, however, than Pearl Washington.
Boeheim credits Pearl as being the turning point for the entire program in the 80's, taking us from "good" to "great." So Orange fans were dismayed to find out the SU legend had to undergo brain surgery in August to deal with a malignant tumor. For a while there, though we knew he was on the road to recovery, we didn't know too much else, let alone whether or not we'd see him roaming the Dome once more.
Pearl has done us one better. He's shown up to two consecutive Syracuse games in different cities. He made it out to Madison Square Garden last week to see the St. John's game and he was also one of many SU basketball alums in the Dome this weekend during the Cornell game.
While he's still battling brain cancer, Pearl remains a source of inspiration for fans and the community, not to mention his Orange family.
"He's just an incredible guy. He's the reason why I fell in love with Syracuse," Hopkins said. "He's going through a lot. He means a lot to our program, to our community, to our university, as do all the alumni. But when you see one of your guys struggle, you say your prayers and it just means a lot.
"It's great to see him," [Scoop] Jardine said. "I just told him I loved him. And looked at me and said he loved me back."
"Oh, man, it's just good to see him," said [Eric] Devendorf, who spent time last summer with Washington as a member of Boeheim's Army in The Basketball Tournament. "I'm just happy he could make it up here."
Here's to hoping we get to see Pearl at many more Syracuse games to come.