View Full Version : Lorenzen Wright dead at 34
07-31-2010, 04:25 AM
I only just found out about this, so sorry if it's not news to anyone else.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Relatives and friends of Lorenzen Wright gathered Wednesday and grieved for the former NBA player who has been missing for 10 days.
Wright's uncle, Curtis Wright, told The Associated Press that police called the player's father, Herb Wright, on Wednesday afternoon with the news he had died.
Sgt. Alyssa Macon-Moore of the Memphis Police Department wrote in an e-mail to the AP that police were investigating the death of an unidentified man beside a wooded area about 15 miles south of downtown Memphis.
Asked if the man was Wright, she wrote they could not confirm the victim's identity Wednesday night. But Thursday, the Commercial Appeal of Memphis cited law enforcement sources confirming the man was Wright.
I'm genuinely sad to hear this. I always thought he was one of the more underrated players in the league. I remember from 2002-2004 wishing to god that the Mavs would trade for him.
If anyone's interested, J.A. Adande wrote an article about him here. http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/columns/story?columnist=adande_ja&page=Wright-100729
The family issued a statement through a cousin of Lorenzen Wright, Camella Logan: "Lorenzen's family has come together to mourn his loss and honor his legacy. We appreciate your thoughts, prayers and condolences as they are comforting at this very difficult time. Additionally, we ask that you please respect our privacy as we try to cope with his sudden loss."
Wright's mother, Deborah Marion, arrived at the scene Wednesday night with a handful of family members. She crossed the crime scene tape and tried to talk to police when she was told to move back. She sat in a TV van before returning to the tape. Two officers then let her through.
The distraught Marion then started running down the road toward the crime scene before being stopped by an officer. She spoke with officers and then walked back to the van and past reporters without speaking.
The 34-year-old Wright was last seen July 18 when he was expected to fly out of town. His family filed a missing person report July 22.
Wright played 13 years in the NBA for the Los Angeles Clippers, Atlanta Hawks, Memphis Grizzlies, Sacramento Kings and most recently the Cleveland Cavaliers with 17 games in the 2008-09 season. Wright left the University of Memphis early for the NBA, and the Clippers made him a lottery pick with the No. 7 selection overall.
He averaged 8 points and 6.4 rebounds in 778 career games.
By nightfall, nearly 200 people had visited the road that was blocked off by police, while TV news helicopters showed investigators scouring the grounds for evidence. Police brought in a mobile command center that further blocked off the scene.
Former NBA star Penny Hardaway, who played at Memphis two years before Wright, said he heard the news from a friend and went to the scene near where the body was found.
"I cried. The emotions hit me immediately. It's just sad because we lost a good person and a brother," Hardaway said.
Elliot Perry, another friend and former Memphis player, was also at the scene. Wendy Wilson, who once worked as Wright's personal assistant, was also there and said Wright often used the road police had cordoned off as a shortcut to his mother's house.
"He was a good person. He did not deserve to die this way. God is not pleased with this," Wilson said.
Grizzlies majority owner Michael Heisley issued a statement late Wednesday, saying: "We are deeply saddened by the tragic death of Lorenzen Wright. We lost a member of the Grizzlies family. Lorenzen delighted fans on the court with his passion and off the court with his generosity in a Memphis community that watched him grow throughout his playing career ..."
No word yet (as far as I know) on what happened to him, but police are apparently investigating his death as a homicide.
I am genuinely sad to hear this. I always thought he was one of the more underrated players in the league. I remember from 2002-2004 wishing to god that the Mavs would trade for him.
If anyone's interested, J.A. Adande wrote another article about him here. http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/columns/story?columnist=adande_ja&page=Wright-100729
07-31-2010, 06:49 AM
Some more details from FOX Sports:Attorney: Armed men visited Wright's ex-wife before death
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP)
Lorenzen Wright's ex-wife was threatened at her home by three men who were carrying guns and looking for the former NBA player about six weeks before he was shot to death, the woman's attorney said Friday.
Sherra Wright warned her ex-husband, the father of her children, about the visit by men dressed in sport coats with weapons tucked in their waistbands, lawyer Gail Mathes said. But she was frightened by their threats and didn't tell authorities about it until Monday, when she alerted police in the Memphis suburb of Collierville, near her home.
''She was told that if she said anything she would be killed, or her children,'' Mathes said. ''Mrs. Wright was terrified.''
The body of the 34-year-old athlete was found in woods in Memphis on Wednesday, six days after his family reported him missing. He was last seen around midnight July 18, when he stayed over at his ex-wife's house.
Sherra Wright told officers he left in the middle of the night with an unidentified person. Police records indicate Wright was probably carrying a large amount of cash when he disappeared.
An investigation is now under way by police in nearby Germantown, another Memphis suburb, about how a 911 call from Wright's phone early on July 19 was handled.
Autopsy results haven't been released, so it's not clear when Wright died or how many times he was shot. Police said the medical examiner had to use dental records to establish a positive identity, indicating the body might have been in the woods for some time before it was found by a police search team.
Memphis police are leading the homicide investigation and won't discuss a motive or if they have suspects. Memphis police Lt. Alan Ruhl said Friday that the department isn't discussing details of the case because the investigation is ongoing.
Rodney Bright, Germantown's deputy police chief, said department officials did not know about the 911 call until Tuesday, eight days after it was received by a dispatcher in the early morning hours of July 19.
Bright said Friday he can't discuss what was said on the call, which has been turned over to Memphis police. They also won't talk about the call.
The Commercial Appeal newspaper, which first reported the call, said the dispatcher heard a garbled male voice utter an expletive and then heard at least 10 gunshots. The call went dead and no one answered when the dispatcher called back, the newspaper reported.
Police said area law enforcement agencies didn't meet until Wednesday to discuss the case. Investigators were able to locate the source of the call and a few hours after that meeting, officers found Wright's body nearby.
Police in Collierville had taken the July 22 missing person report. Before Wright was found dead, they had repeatedly said they didn't suspect foul play.
Wright's friends have questioned why police didn't act with more urgency. Mathes said Germantown police were negligent in failing to report the call to other law enforcement in the area, and the delay has hurt the homicide investigation.
''I do believe there was a disregard with a transparent obliviousness to the significance of a call where you hear 10 shots,'' Mathes said.
The 6-foot-11 Wright played 13 seasons in the NBA for the Los Angeles Clippers (http://msn.foxsports.com/nba/team/los-angeles-clippers/71086), Atlanta Hawks (http://msn.foxsports.com/nba/team/atlanta-hawks/71075), Memphis Grizzlies (http://msn.foxsports.com/nba/team/memphis-grizzlies/71103), Sacramento Kings (http://msn.foxsports.com/nba/team/sacramento-kings/71097) and most recently the Cleveland Cavaliers (http://msn.foxsports.com/nba/team/cleveland-cavaliers/71079). Wright left the University of Memphis early for the NBA, and the Clippers made him a lottery pick with the No. 7 selection overall.
He averaged 8 points and 6.4 rebounds in 778 career games.
Wright leaves behind six children, his mother Deborah Marion, and father Herb Wright, who coached his son from a wheelchair after he was shot in the spine. Lorenzen Wright's 11-month-old daughter, Sierra, died in March 2003 of sudden infant death syndrome.
Messages of sadness and condolence have poured in from around the NBA since Wright's body was found. Hundreds of people have visited the scene near where Wright's body was found to pay respects to the beloved Memphis native.
Mathes said she is hoping to set up a fund for Wright's children, with hopes of getting contributions from NBA players.
07-31-2010, 08:30 AM
Drugs or gambling debts?
(because it's always one of those...)
:(...this made me very sad when I read. According to everyone that knew him on and off the court he was a great guy.
08-01-2010, 06:13 AM
From SportsIllustrated:Lorenzen Wright never forgot promise to friends, family
If my math is right, Vince Chase, Turtle and E were likely still in Queens. And Johnny Drama was on Viking Quest.
It was 2002 and I attempted to put together a piece for Sports Illustrated on NBA players and their entourages. Or, to use the racially tinged term of art, their possés. I visited with Gary Payton's crew in Seattle. And Jerry Stackhouse's "Stack Pack" in Detroit. And Ricky Davis' various wingmen in Cleveland.
In the course of the reporting, I heard one story again and again: Lorenzen Wright, then of the Memphis Grizzlies, was the Jordan of possés. Hell, he employed one "bobo" who drew a check just for waking him up every morning.
Like a lot of rumors floating around the sportscape, it contained vestiges of truth, but ultimately it was a lot more complicated. Wright not only kept a sizable entourage, but it also even had a name, "the Wright Stuff." And, yes, Rewis "Raw Dawg" Williams was tasked with getting Wright out of bed each morning at 9:15, a job made even odder by the fact that Wright was married at the time.
Along with Raw Dawg, there was "A-One," "E Man" and two security staffers, Tim and Dennis. They shared "a company car," a green Ford Expedition that Wright, naturally, purchased. They each earned a salary, as much as $2,000 a month. When they went out for barbecue or gambled at the casino in Tunica, Miss., Wright paid. When they each had "The Wright Stuff" tattooed on their arms, Wright picked up the tab on that, too. Stop the story there and it sounds like a trite cautionary tale: groupies, sponges and still another athlete hell-bent on blowing his millions.
But then Wright explained the situation to me. In the early '90s he was the star forward on a Memphis high school team. Raw Dawg was the point guard. They drove around their corpse of a neighborhood in Wright's beat-up car and if they had a few bucks they went to Taco Bell. But they dreamed big. Raw Dawg explained that one night, over a 10-pack of tacos, he and "Ren" made a deal. "If one of us blew up, he'd take care of the other," Raw Dawg recalled. "Of course, to us at the time that meant buying nice shoes."
Raw Dawg stopped growing at 5-foot-9 and went to tiny Tougaloo (Miss.) College. He was supposed to play ball there, but it didn't work out, and he eventually left school. Wright, meanwhile, became a star at Memphis State. In 1996, the Los Angeles Clippers made him a lottery pick. And he remembered the pledge he made Raw Dawg.
It wasn't a debt he was paying, a bet he had lost or blind loyalty. "I wanted him to share in some of my success," Wright said. "Why wouldn't you want your friends with you in the good times?"
For his part, Raw Dawg took his duties seriously. He learned to cook and became Wright's personal chef of sorts. He read up on fitness and physiology and became a personal trainer for Wright. And, yes, there were the wake-up calls, too. "My day is pretty much up to Ren," Raw Dawg said. "The biggest thing is that I be on time."
And the other Wright Stuff members had similar stories. One was a cousin of Wright's who was going through some hard times. "He could use some help," shrugged Wright, then in the middle of a $42 million contract. Another was a longtime friend who had hoped to major in business in college but had dropped out when the bills piled up. Wright wanted to help him, too.
Apart from the odd jobs and the errands, the Wright Stuff served another purpose. Lorenzen Wright's father, Herb, was a well-regarded coach and rec center director in Memphis. When Lorenzen was in grade school, Herb kicked a man out of the gym. The man returned with a gun, opened fire and paralyzed Herb. Now, the Wright Stuff was taking care of Herb, whether it was wheeling him to his courtside seat at a Grizzlies game or shuttling him to his doctors appointments.
So Wright was using his success to help out family members and prop up the careers of quasi-siblings down on their luck. He was happy to let fortunate friends share some scraps of his success. He let a boyhood friend serve as a business manager. Funny, no one wanted to make a half-hour HBO series about this arrangement.
On Wednesday, the Memphis Commercial Appeal reported that law enforcement officials found Wright's body in a wooded area in Memphis. Wright, who played his final NBA game in 2009, was last seen at a Memphis barbershop on July 19.
For whatever sordid details might or might not emerge in the coming days, it bears remembering that this was a guy saddled with pressures beyond basketball who went to great lengths looking after his family and friends.
08-02-2010, 05:42 AM
From WLBT:Woman questioned in Lorenzen Wright murder investigation; friend reacts to death
By Anna Marie Hartman
MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - While Lorenzen Wright's family mourns his violent death, they are expected to cooperate in the investigation of his murder. Friday, the investigation led homicide detectives to the home of Lorenzen Wright's father, Herb Wright.
Meanwhile, a lifelong friend of Wright, along with Wright's girlfriend, mourned the basketball star.
Police question woman
Just before 1:00 p.m. Friday, two Memphis police investigators, including Sergeant Kevin Lundy, along with a uniformed officer, arrived at Herb Wright's home.
Wright, who has been in a wheelchair since gunfire severed his spinal chord in 1983, came outside to greet officers. After a brief conversation, Wright let the officers into his home. The patrolman went in first, followed by the two investigators.
A few moments later, a woman's screams could be heard coming from inside the home. The tone was tearful, and blood curdling.
Within minutes, the investigators emerged. With them was a woman - a relative of Wright's, we're told - wearing a purple top and black pants.
Without handcuffs, the woman was placed in an unmarked police car and taken in for questioning. Her role in the investigation is unclear.
Also Friday, investigators examined surveillance video from businesses surrounding the barber shop Wright frequented, amid conflicting stories about whether Wright was there the day he died.
As friends and loved ones come to terms with Wright's death, many of them are being kept in the dark about the investigation.
Wright's lifelong friend and girlfriend react to his murder
Friday, Action News 5 spoke with Wright's girlfriend, and a lifelong friend he was living with in Atlanta.
In photos posted online, a smiling Lorenzen Wright posed in front of a web cam with his girlfriend, Alexis Bradley.
Bradley, who posted the photos to her Facebook page, said the photos were taken one day before Wright disappeared. The photos were later re-posted by Sportscasm.com (http://sportscasm.com/2010/07/29/lorenzen-wrights-girlfriend-alexis-bradleys-photos-from-the-day-before-he-died/).
By phone Friday, Action News 5 asked Bradley if she could talk about those final hours with her boyfriend.
"No ma'am, I really don't want to speak to the media," she replied. "I haven't done so at all, and I'm just continuing to not have anything to say."
But Wright's Atlanta roommate, Michael Gipson, did talk about what he's going through.
"I'm just hurting right now," he said. "I feel like I lost part of me, like I lost my brother, you know?"
Gipson, who knew Wright since he was nine, lived with him in an Atlanta suburb. He spoke with investigators when Wright disappeared.
"I've been trying to help them as much as I could," he said. "I just don't have any answers. Nobody does right now."
Gibson said the toughest part about grieving is hearing all the rumors that paint his lifelong friend in a bad light.
"Some of the stuff we're reading and hearing about, I can't see him getting him mixed up in something like that, but you know, I guess everything is going to come out pretty soon," he said.
"I'm hating that he's been tarnished like this, but my God, I don't know. "It's just awful."
Gipson said he speaks with Wright's mother daily, and will be traveling to Memphis in a couple of days. Neither Gipson or Alexis Bradley were aware of whether funeral arrangements for Wright have been finalized.
Copyright 2010 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.
From myeyewitnessnews.com:Major Developments in Lorenzen Wright Murder Investigation
Reported by: Joyce Peterson (http://www.myeyewitnessnews.com/content/bios/story.aspx?content_id=172bc60f-d709-408d-9bec-c4d962e3967c)
Email: email@example.com (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Last Update: 8/01 11:09 pm
MEMPHIS, TN - At least half a dozen police cars sat outside 39-year-old Sherra Wright's Collierville house on Sunday, August 1, 2010, as detectives searched inside and out for clues into the murder of Wright's ex-husband, former Memphis Tiger and Memphis Grizzlies player Lorenzen Wright.
The bullet-riddled body of the NBA free agent was found in a field in Southeast Memphis on Wednesday, July 28, 2010. His mother reported Wright missing on July 22nd, saying she suspected foul play. Sherra Wright was the last person to see him alive, telling the authorites she saw him leave her house in Collierville on July 18th.
Investigators with the Memphis Police Department spent much of the day Sunday, searching Sherra Wright's home for evidence. They could be seen removing several items, and at one point, were in the backyard looking very carefully at Wright's grill and fire pit.
Neighbors reported a large fire in her backyard after Wright's disappearance, and say they thought it was unusual for Wright to light a fire on one of the hottest nights of the year.
08-02-2010, 09:45 AM
Sad. By all accounts he was a nice person and as a basketball player I thought he was petty good too. No one should suffer through such violent death of a loved one...
08-02-2010, 06:51 PM
Three new articles from myeyewitnessnews.com:The Lorenzen Wright Murder Investigation: Detectives Swarm Ex-Wife’s Home
Reported by: Kevin Holmes (http://www.myeyewitnessnews.com/content/bios/story.aspx?content_id=9dbbe367-a5fd-4f31-846e-083704ec36a4)
Email: email@example.com (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Last Update: 5:16 pm
MEMPHIS,TN – Homicide detectives spent their Sunday afternoon in Sherra Wright’s Collierville home collecting evidence. They spent an hour in the backyard which doesn’t come as a surprise to neighbors Tim Coleman and Ruth Ann Carnes who saw heavy smoke coming from the fire pit the day Lorenzen went missing. They say that’s because Sherra Wright started a fire in the backyard, and they thought it was unusual for Wright to light a fire on one of the hottest days of the year.
Coleman says that’s not the only bizarre behavior he’s noticed over the weeks. While on the phone in her front yard he heard Sherra Wright on the phone. “I just heard her talking to somebody about needing her money. I don’t know anymore than that. I really try not to listen to it but when she’s screaming it’s hard not to hear stuff.”
Neighbors like Ruth Ann Carnes say former Grizzlies and Tigers Player Lorenzen Wright lived for his children. “He was a big tweeter and he talked about his kids all the time.”
It’s been four days since Lorenzen Wright’s body was discovered in a field. He was reported missing by his mother July 22, 2010. He was last seen by his ex-wife July 18, 2010. Sherra Wright has been questioned by Memphis Police, so far no one has been charged in connection with Lorenzen Wright’s death.
Threats Against Lorenzen Wright by Ex-Wife Recorded, Personal Assistant Says
Reported by: Joyce Peterson (http://www.myeyewitnessnews.com/content/bios/story.aspx?content_id=172bc60f-d709-408d-9bec-c4d962e3967c)
Email: email@example.com (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Contributor: Shane Myers
Last Update: 5:32 pm
MEMPHIS, TN – Lorenzen Wright’s former personal assistant says she has audio recordings of Sherra Wright threatening to harm Lorenzen. She claims she played the recordings for Lorenzen, his parents and Memphis police before his murder.
“I have the evidence that she said these things… and she knows it,” Lorenzen’s former personal assistant Wendy Wilson says.
From the day Lorenzen Wright’s body was found riddled with bullets in a grassy field in Southeast Memphis, Wilson insisted the investigation should focus on Wright’s ex-wife, Sherra. Wilson says the recordings she made of Sherra Wright’s conversations were so unsettling she warned Lorenzen, his parents and Memphis police.
While describing the tone of the calls, Wilson said, “Oh, just basically… things like if she caught him with anyone else, she’d have him ‘F’d up’ or whatever.” She went on to say, “I’ve let the mother hear, I’ve let the father hear, I’ve let him hear. I went to Memphis police because I was concerned and made a report. Her conversation was all over… but at the same time it was threatening.”
Sherra Wright’s divorce attorney, Gail Mathes, paints a different picture of her client. Mathes says Sherra is a devoted and loving mother of six, struggling to pay the bills.
“He gave her a little bit of money and she kept track of it. But, he wasn’t giving her much to support the family,” Mathes said.
When the couple divorced, the court ordered Lorenzen to pay Sherra $26,000 a month in child support and alimony. Mathes says the former NBA player, who earned more than $50 million during his career, hadn’t made any payments since November.
“I just feel like Sherra Wright is being placed in a bad light,” Mathes says. “She does not deserve it all. She’s been an incredible mother and woman. And she’s done her best to shield her children from finical difficulties.”
The children are now left to grow up without their famous father; a hometown hero who, Wendy Wilson says, trusted her to have his back… just in case.
“He’s a friend and he asked me to keep the tapes,” Wilson said. “I’m a friend to the end, but when it’s all said and done, he wouldn’t have asked me to keep them if he didn’t think he’d need them someday.”
Lorenzen Wright’s family declined to comment on the situation.
Lorenzen Wright Murder Investigation: Ex-Wife's Lawyer Responds to Rumors
Reported by: Allison Sossaman (http://www.myeyewitnessnews.com/content/bios/story/Allison-Sossaman/gGyv88G-uk2pXlkKThDR8w.cspx)
Email: email@example.com (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Last Update: 5:45 pm
MEMPHIS, TN - Lorenzen Wright's ex-wife has been at the center of the latest speculation surrounding the basketball star’s murder. Now, we're hearing from her newly-hired criminal lawyer about the rumors.
A confession, criminal charges, a conspiracy, this case has taken on a life of its own, in the media and around town. Sherra Wright's lawyer wants to set the record straight.
We were there as police scoured her home Sunday, looking for clues in the murder investigation. Coleman Garrett is representing Lorenzen Wright's ex-wife Sherra. Garret says it's standard procedure and doesn't implicate his client.
“I just assume it's part of the routine investigation,” said Garrett. “They're looking for clues, they're looking for evidence. They're trying to find answers, and that would be one of the logical things to do, to search any premises where Lorenzen was last known to be.”
But there's been no word from police since last week, so rumors continue to swirl around the case.
“I feel like she knows more than she's released and she's hired a lawyer, already, so what reason would she have to hire a lawyer if she hadn't did anything,” said Kevin Hollingsworth of Memphis.
Rumors Sherra Wright's been in custody.
“No, she's never been in police custody, and I don't know where all these rumors come from,” said Garrett. “And that's why we don't intend to add to them with her speaking on camera or present, what have you, because it's just going to exacerbate a bad situation, and people are going to have their opinions and misconstrue what is said.”
Garrett says other rumors like she confessed don't deserve a response.
“We think the best thing for her to do is just take care of her children and maintain a low profile,” said Garrett. “Until the Police Department and homicide can do their job and maybe they'll give us some answers.”
This is the second attorney we've heard from representing Sherra Wright. Friday, her divorce lawyer told us about three men who came to Sherra Wright's house, looking for Lorenzen, saying they had some "unfinished business."
There are several memorials being held in honor of Lorenzen Wright this week. One happened Monday night, August 2nd. It’s for alumni of his high school, Booker T. Washington. A public memorial will be at 1:00 p.m. Wednesday at the FedEx Forum.
08-05-2010, 06:30 AM
From SportingNews:Slain NBA player Wright memorialized in hometown
Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2010 - 5:30 p.m. ET
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- The procession moved slowly and solemnly on Wednesday, a long line of mourners dressed in black and white, pausing in front of the silver casket of their slain native son Lorenzen Wright.
Hundreds of fans, friends and family members of the former NBA player filed into the FedEx Forum in Memphis for Wright's memorial service and funeral, remembering the man many called "Ren" as a loving, gentle, charitable family man.
Wright's body was found July 28 in woods outside Memphis after he had been missing for 10 days. The 34-year-old was shot to death in what police are calling a homicide. No arrests have been made and Memphis police will not discuss whether they have a motive or suspects.
Relatives and friends fought off tears as they addressed the crowd, still in disbelief at the way he died.
Jeffrey L. Archie told the audience that he may never understand why someone would kill his brother.
"To me he was invincible," Archie said. "There's no reason for anybody to take him like this."
Memphis Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley said Wright had movie star looks with an infectious smile, and served as the team's leader. Wright spent five of his 13 seasons in the NBA with the team from the city he was born.
"We should all leave this hall with the thought that were going to do a little bit in Lorenzen's honor to make sure things like this don't happen again," Heisley said. "That's the biggest service you could pay him."
Wright's six children and ex-wife were in the procession, trailed by his father, Herb Wright, who uses a wheelchair. Dozens of friends and family followed, stopping before a photo of Wright, then the casket. His mother, Deborah Wright, also attended.
A litany of former NBA brethren paid their respects, including Memphis hero Penny Hardaway, Elliot Perry, Bonzi Wells, and former Atlanta Hawks coach Mike Woodson. Current Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph and former NBA player Damon Stoudemire also were there.
Lorenzen Vern-Gagne Wright Sr. was born in Memphis but lived as a youth Oxford, Miss.. His mother and siblings moved to Memphis for his senior year in high school, and he became a star at Booker T. Washington High School. While growing up, Wright's father, who was paralyzed after being shot in the spine, coached him on the basketball court and taught him to be a family man off the court.
He then went to the University of Memphis, where he played two seasons and was an All-America selection after his sophomore year.
The 6-foot-11 forward-center was drafted No. 7 in 1996 by the Los Angeles Clippers where he spent three seasons before moving onto the Atlanta Hawks, for two separate stints, Grizzlies, Sacramento Kings and most recently the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2008-09. He averaged 8 points and 6.4 rebounds in 778 career NBA games, and also was known as a good defensive player.
In March 2003, Wright's 11-month-old daughter, Sierra, died of sudden infant death syndrome.
Wright contributed to children's charities, holding basketball camps, contributing to child reading programs, and visiting St. Jude's Children Research Hospital.
"As loving as Lorenzen was, and he gave so much to so many people, if we can just come together and love each other instead of all this violence, it will be a much better world," Herb Wright said after the service.
As people mourned, police worked to find the killers.
A 911 hang-up call from Wright's cell phone in the early morning hours of July 19 has become a key piece of evidence in the investigation. The call was received by dispatchers in suburban Germantown, but they didn't alert patrol officers or commanders because they couldn't confirm that it came from inside their jurisdiction.
Top police officials in Germantown said they didn't learn of the call until July 27 - eight days after it was made and five days after Wright's family reported him missing.
In the days he was missing, police said they didn't expect foul play, and friends and family have accused authorities of dragging their feet.
Dr. Bill Adkins, of the Greater Imani Church and Christian Center, appeared to reference the 911 call when he talked about how "a cry of help went unnoticed."
Memphis Mayor A C Wharton pledged to the family that justice will be served.
"I want you to know that we are working day and night, not to see that things are done quickly, not to rush, but that things are done right and that justice will be done," Wharton said. "That is our prayer."
08-05-2010, 10:45 AM
Lorenzen Wright's smiles remembered in tragedy
Mourners savor memories of Wright's humor, attitude
By Marlon W. Morgan (http://www.dallas-mavs.com/staff/marlon-w-morgan/)
Memphis Commercial Appeal
Posted August 5, 2010 at midnight
There's a reason nearly everyone who spoke at Lorenzen Wright's memorial service Wednesday afternoon at FedExForum referred to his infectious smile.
According to longtime friend Penny Hardaway, that's what Wright was all about. As those who knew Wright reminisced about his life, their fondest memories often brought a smile or a chuckle -- just the way Wright would have wanted it.
"Lorenzen was always a practical joker," Hardaway said. "He always wanted the last laugh on people. In the gym, he was the life of the party, the loudest, always in a good manner. He always made people laugh and smile."
Wright was found dead last week in Southeast Memphis from gunshot wounds.
Thousands were in attendance Wednesday to celebrate the life of the former Booker T. Washington, University of Memphis and Memphis Grizzlies star. Wright played in the NBA for 13 seasons, a career that also included stints with the Los Angeles Clippers, Atlanta Hawks, Cleveland Cavaliers and Sacramento Kings.
Current and former NBA players in attendance included former Grizzly teammates Bonzi Wells and Stromile Swift, current Grizzlies Zach Randolph and Tony Allen, former Grizzly and Memphis product Lester Hudson, former Hawks coach Mike Woodson and NBA agent Aaron Goodwin.
"This was a celebration of life," former Tiger and NBA player Elliot Perry said. "People really loved Lorenzen. When you talk about Lorenzen around the community, you're talking about a giant, a person who had a positive attitude about life."
Perry recalled the day Wright, a lanky 6-11 player at the time, was the seventh overall pick in the 1996 NBA draft by the Clippers. Perry, who was already in the NBA, quickly gave Wright some advice.
"I talked about you're going to have to be bigger than that, stronger than that, if you're going to compete on this level," Perry said. "He put in the work. He was committed to that. I watched him in the summertime lifting weights."
Wright was traded to the Grizzlies in 2001, in time for their inaugural season in Memphis. He quickly became the heart and soul of the team, taking rookie Pau Gasol under his wing and teaching him the physical style of the NBA.
Wright was instrumental in the team's going from NBA doormats to making three straight trips to the NBA playoffs.
"I don't think we could have made the playoffs without Lorenzen," Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley said. "It was the high-water mark of the Grizzlies so far."
Heisley said he still remembers how happy Wright was following the trade to Memphis.
Another memory that stood out was the death of Wright's 11-month-old daughter, Sierra, of natural causes in 2003. It was then that Heisley, who was with Wright at the time of Sierra's death, fully understood what people meant when they talked about how much Wright loved his children.
"If you've ever gone through that experience, you wouldn't have any question how much love he had," Heisley said. "It was one of the most emotional things that I've ever been through, to see a grown man that big, just sitting there absolutely sobbing and crying."
In addition to his involvement in the Memphis community, Wright was always available whenever the NBA called on him, said Chrysa Chin, NBA director of player programs, who represented the league at the memorial service.
"Lorenzen was the type of person that did everything that we asked, and everything that we didn't ask him," she said. "With his kind, gentle spirit, he mentored our younger players, he kept our meetings lively with his sense of humor. He always recognized what needed to be done."
— Marlon W. Morgan: 529-2792
08-12-2010, 04:25 AM
From FOX Sports:Revelations shed light on murder case
Updated Aug 11, 2010 8:37 PM ET
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP)
The ex-wife of slain former NBA player Lorenzen Wright told police she saw him leave her home carrying money and a box of drugs the night he disappeared, according to court documents obtained Wednesday.
Sherra Wright said her ex-husband left her home at 10:30 p.m. on July 18 with the drugs, returned a short time later, then left again with an unspecified amount of money, said an affidavit for a search warrant by Memphis police Sgt. W.D. Merritt.
Before he left, Sherra Wright said she overheard her ex-husband on the telephone telling someone that he was going to ''flip something for $110,000,'' the document said.
Sherra Wright said Lorenzen Wright left her home in a car with a person she said she could not identify. Hours later, police dispatchers received a 911 call from Wright's cell phone and heard noises like gunshots before the call was dropped.
Wright's body was found July 28 in woods outside Memphis. The 34-year-old had been missing for 10 days. No arrests have been made in the homicide and Memphis police will not discuss whether they have a motive or suspects in the shooting death.
The affidavit said Sherra Wright gave the statements to police in the Memphis suburb of Collierville, where she lives, on July 27 — five days after the former University of Memphis star's mother filed a missing person report.
Sherra Wright also told police that her ex-husband owned a shotgun that he kept at her home and a handgun he kept inside the family van. A search of the home and the van failed to turn up the weapons, the affidavit said.
Police did find shell casings of different caliber bullets at the scene where Wright was shot, but they could not find Wright's phone.
The affidavit said police were going to use documents showing ownership of the two weapons to see if they match the bullet shell casings recovered at the crime scene.
Wright, a 6-foot-11 forward-center, played with five teams during his 13-year NBA career. He averaged 8 points and 6.4 rebounds in 778 games.
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