Perhaps that in some ways summed up the too short life of Orlando Vernada Woolridge, a popular, outgoing small town kid from Louisiana who maybe wanted to be liked and to please a bit too much, and it may have taken him down some of the more dangerous blind alleys the glamour of pro sports has and mostly tries to avoid.
“He was a great teammate,” recalled Isiah Thomas, who played with Woolridge in Detroit in the early 1990’s. A fun loving guy, great sense of humor. He wasn’t confrontational at all. Just a guy you liked being around to talk about things.”
“A good man with an infectious personality, he’d embrace you and make you feel important,” recalled Billy McKinney, a Bulls teammate and later a Pistons executive who helped bring Woolridge to Detroit. “That was a quality I admired about him. He had a lot of responsibility coming to that team at that time. He really was ahead of his time as that hybrid forward who could beat the big guys at four and outjump the quick guys at three. He was such a perfect physical specimen he never had to lift a weight. When he went to play with the Lakers and was around a stronger group of players it was good for him. You wonder what would have happened if those guys were around him when he started.”