Wright Thompson

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Wright Thompson
Born (1976-09-09) September 9, 1976 (age 45)
Clarksdale, Mississippi
Alma materUniversity of Missouri
Subjectsports, society

Wright Thompson (born September 9, 1976) is a senior writer for ESPN.com and ESPN The Magazine. He formerly worked at The Kansas City Star and Times-Picayune in New Orleans. Thompson's topics have covered a wide range of sports issues, from football, basketball, and baseball, to car racing, sports history, Father's Day, and bullfighting. Thompson also covered the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup in the subcontinent of India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka.

Early life and education[edit]

Thompson is a native of Clarksdale in northern Mississippi, the son of Mary Thompson. His late father, Walter Wright Thompson, an attorney, played a pivotal role in Clarksdale's emergence as a tourist destination based on blues music. The senior Thompson was an ardent Democrat who was the Mississippi finance chairman for the 1984 John Glenn presidential campaign. He later supported Michael Dukakis and Bill Clinton in their campaigns against George Herbert Walker Bush.


Thompson started his sportswriting career while a student at the University of Missouri in Columbia, having covered Missouri sports and writing as a columnist for the School of Journalism's Columbia Missourian.

Between his junior and senior years, he interned at the Times-Picayune in New Orleans and later was the LSU beat writer there. He later moved to the Kansas City Star, where he covered a wide variety of sports events including Super Bowls, Final Fours, The Masters, and The Kentucky Derby.

In 2006, he assumed full-time writing duties at ESPN.com.

In 2008, after watching the University of Alabama narrowly defeat Louisiana State University in a home game in Baton Rouge, Thompson described Tiger Stadium as "the best place in the world to watch a sporting event."[1]

His 2010 article Ghosts of Mississippi inspired the 2012 ESPN 30 for 30 series documentary film The Ghosts of Ole Miss (which Thompson narrated),[2] about the 1962 football team's perfect season and concurrent violence and rioting over integration of the segregated university by James Meredith.[3] He also narrated the ESPN 30 for 30 film Roll Tide/War Eagle.

Article on Dublin[edit]

His 2017 article on Conor McGregor and Dublin for ESPN was criticised by residents for bearing no resemblance to the actual city.[4][5][6] Jennifer O'Connell wrote:

In the piece, McGregor’s childhood upbringing in the “projects” of Crumlin and Drimnagh suggests he was brought up in the Gaza Strip or 1920s Chicago, not a neighbourhood in which this writer lived for six happy and peaceful years, oblivious to the grenades whizzing by, or the fact that I should have been taking an armed escort whenever I had to cross the Liffey.

— Jennifer O'Connell, Conor McGregor, Crumlin and the Kinahans: an unrecognisable Dublin, The Irish Times[6]

She also suggested that the author might have been duped by interviewees: "To be fair to Wright Thompson, you can’t help feeling that some of his interviewees might have seen him – and a Hollywood agent – coming."[6]

Fintan O'Toole called Thompson's description of Dublin "ludicrous".[7]

Rick O'Shea tweeted:

I grew up in both the ‘projects’ *ahem* of Crumlin and Drimnagh. This is lazy stereotyping bullshit of the highest order ...

— Rick O'Shea, in Tom Lutz, ESPN's portrait of a gang-infested Dublin attracts bemusement in Ireland, The Guardian[5]

Bibliography (selected)[edit]

Auto racing[edit]






Fathers Day[edit]



Horse Racing[edit]


Sports History / Issues[edit]


  1. ^ Chet Hilburn, The Mystique of Tiger Stadium: 25 Greatest Games: The Ascension of LSU Football (Bloomington, Indiana: WestBow Press, 2012), p. 7
  2. ^ Thompson, Wright (February 2010). "Ghosts of Mississippi". Outside the Lines. ESPN. Retrieved November 3, 2012.
  3. ^ Thompson, Wright (October 30, 2012). "'Ghosts' a story of family, home". ESPN Films. ESPN.com. Retrieved November 3, 2012.
  4. ^ "ESPN article on Conor McGregor's Dublin: 'So dangerous men can't walk their dates home'". Irish Independent. 7 August 2020. Retrieved 18 June 2020.
  5. ^ a b Lutz, Tom (8 August 2017). "ESPN's portrait of a gang-infested Dublin attracts bemusement in Ireland". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 June 2020.
  6. ^ a b c O'Connell, Jennifer (8 August 2017). "Conor McGregor, Crumlin and the Kinahans: an unrecognisable Dublin". The Irish Times.
  7. ^ Cooney, Gavin (15 September 2020). "Three years on, Wright Thompson reflects on infamous Dublin/McGregor piece". The42.ie. Retrieved 23 November 2020.
  8. ^ "ESPN.com - E-Ticket: Haunted By The Horns". Espn.com. Retrieved 9 December 2021.

External links[edit]