More details are emerging in the mysterious death of former Atlanta Hawks player Lorenzen Wright.
According to online reports, Wright's body was found "riddled with bullets" in a wooded area in Southeast Memphis Wednesday afternoon. According to 730 Fox Sports in Memphis, the 34-year-old was shot at least a dozen times and possibly as many as 18 times.
The street near where Wright was found was often used as a shortcut to his mother's house not far from FedEx's world headquarters. His mother reported him missing on July 22.
Wright's friends questioned why police didn't do more to investigate a 911 call from Wright's cell phone in the early morning hours of July 19, when he was last seen alive. They wonder if police dropped the ball.
All week long police said they had no indication of foul play in Wright's disappearance. So when did police become aware of the 911 call with sounds of multiple gunshots in the background?
The Commercial Appeal newspaper, which first reported the call, said a dispatcher in the suburb of Germantown heard a garbled male voice say an expletive and then at least 10 gunshots. The call went dead and no one answered when the dispatcher called back, the newspaper reported.
Collierville spokesman Mark Heuberger said he couldn't comment on whether his department knew about the call. Family spokeswoman Camelle Logan, Wright's cousin, declined comment. [link]
In the hours before his death, a woman dropped Wright off at a Memphis restaurant. Later that day he turned up unannounced at his ex-wife's home where he checked on his six children. Wright had plans to drive his kids to an Atlanta suburb on July 19.
The 6-foot-11 Wright spent two years as a star center at Memphis before entering the NBA draft as a top 10 draft pick in 1996.
Like most young gifted athletes, Wright was lured into a professional basketball career by the promise of big money, expensive clothes, cars and women. In his 13 years with the NBA, Wright played for five NBA teams, including the Memphis Grizzlies, Atlanta Hawks and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
According to the AJC: "the Memphis Commercial Appeal reported his custom-built 17-room home in Eads, Tenn., was repossessed in May for $1.3 million, and that his Atlanta house was repossessed in January for $1.1 million."
Although he never lived up to the billing of a top 10 pick, Wright carved out a niche that enabled him to make over $55 million dollars over his NBA career, and he never hesitated to give back to his hometown.
During his first of three NBA stints in Atlanta, Wright, Penny Hardaway and two other Memphis-area NBA players (Todd Day and Elliot Perry) furnished $10,000 to Travis Butler, a 9-year-old boy who lived with his mother's corpse for a month out of fear he would be put in foster care if anyone found out she was dead.
"To end his career and his life like this here in some woods, that's not good," friend Stan McKinley said. "You don't do a dog like this. It's just a really sad day for the city as a whole." [link]