Friday, July 30, 2010
Wright's ex-wife got threatening visit
ESPN.com news services
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Three armed men looking for Lorenzen Wright showed up at the home of the former NBA player's ex-wife about six weeks before he was found shot to death, an attorney said Friday.
Lawyer Gail Mathes said her client, Sherra Wright, was afraid for herself and her children, so she kept quiet about the encounter until Monday. She then alerted police in the Memphis suburb of Collierville.
The men, dressed in sport coats with weapons in view, threatened Sherra Wright and her family if she told anyone about the visit, Mathes said. The attorney's account was first reported by The Commercial Appeal.
Lorenzen Wright's body was found Wednesday in the woods in southeast Memphis. He had been missing since July 18, when he left his ex-wife's house around midnight with an unidentified person.
Meanwhile, police in the Memphis suburb of Germantown are reviewing how a 911 call from Wright's cell phone was handled.
Rodney Bright, Germantown's deputy police chief, said department officials did not know about the call until Tuesday, eight days after it was received by a dispatcher in the early morning hours of July 19.
Bright said he couldn't discuss details of the call, which has been turned over to Memphis police.
The Commercial Appeal, which first reported the call, said a garbled male voice on the call can be heard using an expletive, and then as many as a dozen gunshots are heard in succession.
The 6-foot-11 Wright played 13 seasons in the NBA for the Los Angeles Clippers, Atlanta Hawks, Memphis Grizzlies, Sacramento Kings and most recently the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Wright left the University of Memphis early for the NBA, and the Clippers made him a lottery pick with the No. 7 overall selection.
He averaged 8 points and 6.4 rebounds in 778 career games.
Wright leaves behind six children, his mother, Deborah Marion, and his father, Herb Wright, who coached his son from a wheelchair after he was shot in the spine. Lorenzen Wright's 11-month-old daughter, Sierra, died in March 2003 of sudden infant death syndrome.
Longtime friend Kevin Nelson remembered Wright as a well-meaning person who treated people with respect.
"He was a people person; he never met a stranger," Nelson said. "It really hit us hard."
Nearly 200 people turned up Wednesday at the crime scene after hearing that police might have found Wright's body. Among them was former NBA star Penny Hardaway, who played at Memphis two years before Wright and heard the news from a friend.
"I cried. The emotions hit me immediately. It's just sad because we lost a good person and a brother," Hardaway said.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.