I was so frustrated. After the game I went straight through the tunnel to the weight room, where I knew no one would be. I didn’t want to go to the locker room. I just sat by myself with my head between my hands, taking it hard. Then I felt a hand on my head. It was Lorenzen Wright, who was a veteran on the team. I was still “the new guy from Spain” and I didn’t know my teammates very well yet, but Lorenzen had been nice to me in training camp. “Don’t take it so hard,” he told me, “And don’t be afraid of mistakes. You’re going to make plenty more on the way to getting it right.” I thanked him, and as he walked out he said something that meant so much to me. “I’m here for you if you have any questions.”
Lorenzen Wright RumorsAll NBA Players
Height: 6-11 / 2.11
Weight:240 lbs. / 108.9 kg.
Height: 6-11 / 2.11
Weight:240 lbs. / 108.9 kg.
After a game, I could see Niko really upset and at that moment the story about Lorenzen Wright came to my mind. I pulled him aside and told him about my rookie season and the frustrations I had. I reminded him to be patient and continue to work. Your time will come, I told him. I’m not sure he believed me. Maybe he thought it was just another older player saying, “Be positive.” But I didn’t stop checking in on him — making sure he was balancing his frustration with a positive outlook. I was impressed with him. He kept working hard in practice even when he wasn’t getting minutes. The veterans on the team noticed. The coaches definitely noticed. Not too long after our conversation, we suffered a spate of injuries and Nikola got his chance. Suddenly he was playing 30 minutes a game, not 10. He even had some breakout games where he was our high scorer. His second year, he did more of the same. People started to say things like, “This guy Mirotić came out of nowhere!”
“Hello? Hello? Can you hear me?” asked the 911 dispatcher in Germantown, Tenn. The line went dead. When the dispatcher called back, there was no answer. The location of the call could not be pinpointed, because it came from outside of the Germantown jurisdiction. Unaccountably, however, the dispatcher did not report anything to a supervisor until eight days later, an error of omission that would later hamper the police investigation—and cost the district an undisclosed sum paid to Wright’s family in a legal settlement. Meanwhile, Deborah Marion’s maternal intuition was kicking in. Not only hadn’t she heard from her son, but her calls and texts to him were going unreturned. On July 22 she filed a missing person’s report, ominously telling police, “When y’all find him, it’s not gonna be good.” Then she waited, knowing that with each passing day, the odds of a happy outcome were diminishing.
Lorenzen Wright was one of 89 murder victims in Memphis in 2010. Though his date of death is listed when his body was found, he was almost surely killed on July 19, when that 911 call was placed. Those are the where, when and how of Wright’s slaying. But the more important questions—who and why—are unresolved. Five years after one of the most high-profile murders of a professional athlete, there is no suspect, no motive and no answer. Memphis is a city of ghosts and spirits. They haunt Graceland, and the Lorraine Hotel, where in 1968 Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated as he stood outside room 306. They move through long-closed music studios and abandoned streetcars. They walk the cemeteries throughout town, the legacy of the city’s infamous murder rate.
He also had questionable associations. According to FBI documents, in 2008 Wright sold a 2008 Mercedes-Benz sedan and an ’07 Cadillac Escalade to Bobby Cole, a brother-in-law of Dennis McNeil. Cole was known throughout Memphis for his connection to Craig Petties, the city’s longtime drug kingpin, who had ties to Mexican cartels. When Cole was indicted for drug distribution in 2007, he offered to turn over to the DEA vehicles he had purchased with drug money. They included the Mercedes-Benz and Escalade he had purchased from Wright, which were still registered in Wright’s name. In 2012, Cole would be sentenced to eight years for trafficking millions of dollars worth of cocaine into Memphis and millions of dollars in profit back to Mexico. It’s unclear from the documents whether Wright knew of Cole’s drug trafficking.
One tidbit: Neighbors noted that on the night of July 19, Wright and a male acquaintance ignited a bonfire in the backyard fire pit of Sherra’s house in the suburb of Collierville. “I thought it was strange, because it was like one of the hottest days of the year,” one neighbor, Patricia Coleman told reporters.