Wright in 2009
November 4, 1975|
July 19, 2010 (aged 34)|
|Listed height||6 ft 11 in (2.11 m)|
|Listed weight||260 lb (118 kg)|
Booker T. Washington|
|NBA draft||1996 / Round: 1 / Pick: 7th overall|
|Selected by the Los Angeles Clippers|
|Position||Power forward / Center|
|1996–1999||Los Angeles Clippers|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NBA statistics|
|Points||6,191 (7.9 ppg)|
|Rebounds||4,943 (6.3 rpg)|
|Assists||622 (0.8 apg)|
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com|
Lorenzen Vern-Gagne Wright (November 4, 1975 – July 19, 2010) was an American professional basketball player who played thirteen seasons in the National Basketball Association. He was drafted 7th overall in the 1996 NBA draft by the Los Angeles Clippers, and also played for the Atlanta Hawks, Memphis Grizzlies, Sacramento Kings and Cleveland Cavaliers.
Wright went missing on July 18, 2010, and his body was found several days later, having been shot to death. In December 2017, over seven years after his death, Wright's ex-wife Sherra Wright-Robinson was charged with his murder.
Early life and college
Raised in Oxford, Mississippi, Wright played all levels of basketball in Memphis – high school, collegiate and professional. His father, Herb, was a professional basketball player who competed in Finland and once had a tryout with the Utah Jazz. When Wright was seven years old, Herb was working for the Memphis Police Department when he was paralyzed by a gunshot to the back.
After being selected seventh overall by the Los Angeles Clippers in the 1996 NBA Draft out of the University of Memphis, Wright moved on to the Atlanta Hawks in 1999. He was traded to the Memphis Grizzlies in 2001, but returned to the Hawks in 2006.
He held career averages of 8.0 points and 6.4 rebounds per game, playing in 778 (793 including playoffs) NBA games over 13 seasons.
Wright founded the Sierra Simone Wright Scholarship Fund after the death of his infant daughter in March 2003. During the summer of 2003, he returned to the University of Memphis to finish his degree. Wright was survived by his parents and six children.
During his first stint in Atlanta, Wright and three other Memphis-native NBA players (Todd Day, Penny Hardaway and Elliot Perry) provided financial assistance to Travis Butler, a Memphis orphan whose tragic story garnered national attention.
Disappearance and death
According to his ex-wife, Wright left his home in Collierville, Tennessee, on the night of July 18, 2010, with drugs and an unspecified amount of money, and was not seen or heard from again. His family filed a missing persons report on July 22. After Wright's body was found on July 28 in a wooded area on Callis Cutoff Road just west of Hacks Cross Road, it was reported that a 9-1-1 call had been received from his cell phone in the early morning of July 19 by the Germantown, Tennessee, 911 dispatch center; the caller was speaking with the dispatcher when 11 gunshots rang out. The dispatcher did not report the call to his supervisor until eight days later, hindering the police investigation and resulting in a payout to Wright's family. The case was investigated as a homicide. Wright's body is buried in Calvary Cemetery in Memphis, Tennessee. In 2011, a reward for information related to the killing stood at $21,000: the state of Tennessee contributed $10,000, the city of Memphis and the Memphis Grizzlies each promised $5,000, and Crime Stoppers promised $1,000.
On November 9, 2017, the gun believed to have been used to murder Wright was found in a Walnut, Mississippi, lake. On December 5, 2017, Billy R. Turner, Shelby County landscaper and church deacon at Mt. Olive No. 1 Missionary Baptist Church in Collierville, TN, was indicted on first-degree murder charges and held on $1 million bond.
On December 15, 2017, Wright's ex-wife, Sherra Wright-Robinson, was arrested in California in connection with the murder. Wright-Robinson was a former member of Turner's church. The seven-year investigation into his death has been one of the Memphis Police Department's most high-profile unsolved cases. Wright's mother, Deborah Marion, told The Commercial Appeal newspaper that a police official told her Wright-Robinson will be charged with first-degree murder, the same charge Turner faces. Marion said she believes her former daughter-in-law was motivated by money, specifically a $1-million life insurance policy held by Lorenzen Wright.
In a 2015 article in The Commercial Appeal, Wright-Robinson explained how she inquired early in the investigation whether she was a suspect.
"They was like, no, you know," she said. "It was just kind of a person of interest. They said that the list was long and wide and they didn't have any real suspects, if you want to quote that.
Records showed that on August 1, 2010, Memphis police searched her home and found burned pieces of metal and a letter addressed to her and Lorenzen Wright, but law enforcement at that time did not say what the items meant to investigators.
In 2014, Wright-Robinson agreed to a confidential settlement of a dispute in Circuit Court over how she spent the $1 million of insurance money meant to benefit their six children.
On March 19, 2018, ABC News reported that prosecutors announced at a pre-trial hearing that day that they would not be seeking the death penalty for either defendant. Both defendants will be tried together on charges of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder.
NBA career statistics
|GP||Games played||GS||Games started||MPG||Minutes per game|
|FG%||Field goal percentage||3P%||3-point field goal percentage||FT%||Free throw percentage|
|RPG||Rebounds per game||APG||Assists per game||SPG||Steals per game|
|BPG||Blocks per game||PPG||Points per game||Bold||Career high|
- "New Details In The Lorenzen Wright Mystery" ABC 24 Eyewitness News, Memphis July 28, 2010
- Wertheim, Jon (October 18, 2015). "Who killed Lorenzen Wright? Murder still a mystery". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 6 December 2017.
- "Kings trading Bibby to Hawks for 4 players". ESPN.com. February 16, 2008.
- "NBA Players Donate $10,000 To Memphis Boy Who Lived With Mother's Corpse". Findarticles.com. 2000. Retrieved July 28, 2010.
- Fretland, Katie; Connolly, Daniel; Moore, Linda A.; Jones, Yolanda (December 5, 2017). "Lorenzen Wright killing: Shelby County man arrested, charged with murder in death of former NBA player". The Commercial Appeal. Retrieved 6 December 2017.
- Lorenzen Wright: Former Tigers & Grizzlies Player Missing, Accessed July 23, 2010 Archived August 11, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
- Gabriel Falcon, CNN (July 27, 2010). "Police investigate disappearance of former NBA player Lorenzen Wright". CNN.com. Retrieved July 28, 2010.
- Goetz, Kristina. "Missing Memphis basketball star Lorenzen Wright found dead". The Commercial Appeal. Retrieved July 30, 2010.
- "Police: Former NBA big man Lorenzen Wright was shot to death - NBA - SI.com". Sports Illustrated. July 29, 2010. Archived from the original on July 31, 2010. Retrieved September 5, 2013.
- Connolly, Daniel (November 13, 2017). "$21,000 reward available for tips in homicide of basketball standout Lorenzen Wright". The Commercial Appeal. Retrieved 6 December 2017.
- Fretland, Katie; Perrusquia, Marc (November 9, 2017). "Memphis police: Gun suspected in Lorenzen Wright case recovered in Mississippi lake". The Commercial Appeal. Retrieved 6 December 2017.
- "Lorenzen Wright's ex-wife Sherra Wright arrested in California, charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy".
- "Lorenzen Wright's ex-wife Sherra arrested in California in connection with his death". The Commercial Appeal. Retrieved 2017-12-16.
- "CA Investigation: Memphis police no closer to finding star's killer 5 years later". Retrieved 2017-12-16.