Longtime readers will know that I am a huge sports nut, especially of my local Memphis teams, the Memphis Grizzlies in the NBA, and my alma mater, the University of Memphis. The Memphis community suffered a tragedy yesterday when the body of Lorenzen Wright, who had been missing for over a week, was discovered. “Ren”, as he was affectionately known, was about 2 years older than me, and he was a standout high school basketball player here in Memphis before attending Memphis State, as it was known at the time. I remember his college days well, he wore #55 and played two years with the Tigers before entering the NBA draft after his sophomore year. He was a lottery pick by the LA Clippers, played afterwards with the Atlanta Hawks, and then in 2001 was traded to his hometown Memphis Grizzlies, in their first year here. Lorenzen actually modeled the jersey (#42) that was revealed before the start of the season. He played for the Grizzlies until 2006, when he was traded again.
I wish I could find the digital version, but I’ve got a picture at my office of my first Grizzlies game that I attended, it’s an action shot, right after a free throw, and there is Lorenzen boxing out his man preparing to grab a rebound. Wright played at all levels with a level of desire and determination that couldn’t be matched, and gave back immensely to his community. He still had a home here, and frequently communicated with and visited his 6 kids. He also lost an infant daughter to SIDS back in 2003, while playing with the Grizzlies, and it was touching to see how the entire community rallied around Ren and his family.
Rest in Peace, Lorenzen Wright. Thoughts and prayers go out to his family in their time of grief.