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Former Memphis Grizzlies center Lorenzen Wright found dead amid waves of controversy

Posted By Jacob Wells On Aug 3 2010 @ 2:25 pm In Memphis Grizzlies | No Comments

Lorenzen Wright [1], 34, was found murdered in southeast Memphis on July 27.

The discovery of the player affectionately known as “The Howl” during his playing days at the then Memphis State University [2], came eight days after 911 dispatchers received a call from Wright’s cell phone in which at least a dozen gunshots were heard before the connection was lost, according to The Commercial Appeal [3].

Gail Mathes, the lawyer of Wright’s ex-wife Sherra Robinson Wright, said that three men dressed in sport coats with visible weapons showed up at her house six weeks before the player’s murder demanding his location, according to espn.com [4].

The dispatchers were unable to pinpoint the exact location of the call due to limitations on the equipment.  The call came from outside of the city limits of Germantown, a Memphis suburb, restricting the capabilities of the department’s tracking equipment.

Several media outlets have reported [5] that Wright saved recordings of threats that  Sherra Wright had left him prior to his disappearance and death.  He then gave them to his personal assistant at the time, Wendy Wilson.  Wilson released the tapes to Memphis police because she felt they were “threatening.”

Allegedly, the tapes have Sherra Wright threatening Lorenzen Wright if she founds out the he is having relationships with other women.

The two were also experiencing troubles with lack of alimony payments being made by the father of six, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution [5].

On August 1, Memphis police searched the home of Sherra Wright.  They are reported to have focused on a backyard grill and fire pit after neighbors reported seeing smoke from the yard on the night that Lorenzen Wright went missing, noting that it was also one of the hottest nights of the year.

Wright played 13 seasons in NBA for the Atlanta Hawks [6], Cleveland Cavaliers [7], Los Angeles Clippers [8], Memphis Grizzlies [9] and Sacramento Kings [10].

Wright should be remembered by Grizzlies fans as a key player in the team’s three playoff appearances from 2004 to 2006.  Wright began his career in Memphis at the same time as the team, 2001.

His best statistical year was in 2001, where he averaged 12 points and 9.4 rebounds for his hometown team.

Wright was also an All-American twice at the University of Memphis in 1995 and 1996.  In 1995 Wright captained Team USA [11] to gold medal and a 7-0 record at the 1995 World University Games in Japan.

Wright became known as “The Howl” because he would howl like a wolf after his numerous spectacular dunks and ally-oops.

Lorenzen Wright was one my favorite Tigers to watch growing up.  He brought energy and excitement to coach Larry Finch’s teams.  He was the high-flying big man who could catch the ball well above the rim and hammer it down with authority on helpless defenders.

His shot-blocking ability made him an asset on defense, and I will never forget his rebounding.  I learned how to rebound from watching Lorenzen Wright stick his butt out and box out bigger, stronger players to pull down the boards.  While he wasn’t Dennis Rodman on the glass, Wright was his own kind of rebounder.  He showed that position can win over size almost all the time.

Details for his memorial service can be found on the Memphis Grizzlies website [12].

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URLs in this post:

[1] Lorenzen Wright: http://www.nba.com/playerfile/lorenzen_wright/career_stats.html

[2] Memphis State University: http://www.memphis.edu/

[3] The Commercial Appeal: http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2010/aug/03/wright-911-call-beyond-tracing/

[4] espn.com: http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=5429738

[5] Several media outlets have reported: http://www.ajc.com/news/lorenzen-wrights-ex-wife-583535.html?cxtype=ynews_rss

[6] Atlanta Hawks: http://www.nba.com/hawks/

[7] Cleveland Cavaliers: http://www.nba.com/cavaliers/

[8] Los Angeles Clippers: http://www.nba.com/clippers/

[9] Memphis Grizzlies: http://www.nba.com/grizzlies/

[10] Sacramento Kings: http://www.nba.com/kings/

[11] In 1995 Wright captained Team USA: http://www.gotigersgo.com/sports/m-baskbl/archive/101899aab.html

[12] website: http://www.nba.com/grizzlies/news/wright_memorial_service-100730.html

[13] Subscribe to author's RSS feed: http://www.prosportsblogging.com/author/jacobwells/feed/

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