Lorenzen Wright, 1975-2010

by July 28, 2010

The body of longtime NBA player Lorenzen Wright was identified today in southeast Memphis. Wright, who played his high school and college basketball in Memphis before going on to a 13-year NBA career, had been missing for over a week. The Memphis site myeyewitnessnews.com cites sources who report “the body was found in the wooded area of Hacks Cross and Winchester Road. It appears, sources say he had been shot and it may be self inflected.”

According to the Memphis Commercial Appeal:

Police sources have confirmed they are investigating a 911 hangup call from Wright’s cellphone left Monday morning – the day he disappeared.

Wright likely had a lot of cash on him when he was last seen leaving his ex-wife’s Collierville home, fueling concerns he may be the victim of foul play, according to a Collierville police report released today.

Wright, a former NBA standout who once played for the Memphis Grizzlies, recently flew in from Atlanta to Memphis to visit friends and his six children, friends said. He was scheduled to catch a ride back to the Atlanta area July 19 with a buddy with his six kids in tow. He was last seen in the wee hours of that morning, at about 2 a.m., leaving his ex-wife’s Whisperwood Drive home, but his former wife, Sherra Robinson Wright, 39, told police she doesn’t know who he left with or what type of car they were in, according to the missing person’s report.

On a brief personal note, I had the opportunity to cover Wright on a daily basis when he was a member of the Atlanta Hawks back in 1999-00, and he was one of the nicest, most personable people I’ve ever had the chance to cover, always upbeat, even when he couldn’t find consistent playing time. One season later, given more playing time by then-Hawks coach Lon Kruger, Wright averaged a career-high 12.4 ppg and became one of Atlanta’s most consistent performers.

I was so glad to see a good guy having what seemed to be a breakout season that I wrote a small item about ‘Ren in SLAM 50.

“If you used to play ten minutes a game and you’re getting twenty minutes a game, you’re going to do a whole lot more, ain’t ya?” Wright asked me. “When I get the opportunity to play, I play hard. And good things come to those who play hard.”

Lorenzen Wright was 34 years old.

Damn. — Lang Whitaker