RIP Orlando Woolridge | LA Showtime Player Dies at 52

I got into basketball in the late '80s and like most basketball fans back then that lived in a city without an NBA team, you probably picked either Jordan, Bird or Magic as their favorite player.   Although I was living in Florida, I was born in Cali, always wore Converse and enjoyed flash, flair and winners, so Magic Johnson was the obvious choice. And if you liked Magic, then you loved LA Showtime. And if you loved Showtime, you had to love not only Magic but Kareem, Worthy, Green, Scott and if it was the late 80s then dunk phenom Orlando Woolridge too.

Woolridge was just a role player in LA but before he was playing his role and running with Magic (and before his 1-year suspension for substance abuse) he was a serious scoring threat with the Nets and the Bulls...before everybody realized one ball wasn't enough for Jordan and Woolridge.  He's also known as one of the best dunkers of the 80s and not so known for being the first NBA player to do a between the legs dunk, which is often credited to JR Rider.

I had the pleasure of meeting Woolridge at a grand opening party for a Houston restaurant owned by a couple of NBA players back in 2009. I pitched a business idea to him and he pitched me a product he was endorsing. Neither of us was interested in what the other was selling but we both had a big interest in talking about how Showtime would destroy any present day team.

Check out my tribute to Showtime that I made back in 2006.

Woolridge died at his parents' Mansfield home where he'd been under hospice care for a chronic heart condition.

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