NPR logo Memphis Authorities Investigate Death of NBA Power Forward Lorenzen Wright


Memphis Authorities Investigate Death of NBA Power Forward Lorenzen Wright

Lorenzen Wright shoots over Amare Stoudemire in game two of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2005 NBA Playoffs. Stephen Dunn/Getty Images North America hide caption

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Stephen Dunn/Getty Images North America

Lorenzen Wright, an NBA power forward, has died — seven days after his family told the Memphis Police Department he'd gone missing.

The Commercial Appeal, citing two law enforcement sources, reports that a "body found in a wooded area in southeast Memphis was that of Wright."

Last night, hundreds of people — including Wright's mother, Deborah Marion — arrived at the crime scene, some 15 miles south of Memphis.

According to the Associated Press, Marion "crossed the crime scene tape and tried to talk to police when she was told to move back."

She sat in a TV van before turning to the tape. Two officers then let her through.

The distraught Marion then started running down the road toward the crime scene before being stopped by an officer. She spoke with officers, then walked back past reporters without speaking straight to a van.

The Commercial Appeal describes what happened "in the early hours of July 19," after a police dispatcher answered a call from Wright's mobile telephone:

The dispatcher heard a garbled male voice utter an expletive, then at least 10 gunshots.

"Hello? Hello? Can you hear me?" the dispatcher asked.

Then the phone went dead.

The dispatcher called back. No one answered.

Nine days later, Wright's body was found...

Wright's family members, who filed a missing-persons report on July 22, three days after he was last seen, leaving his ex-wife's house, issued a statement:

Lorenzen's family has come together to mourn his loss and honor his legacy. We appreciate your thoughts, prayers and condolences as they are comforting at this very difficult time. Additionally, we ask that you please respect our privacy as we try to cope with his sudden loss.

Michael Heisley, majority owner of the Memphis Grizzlies, offered his condolences on behalf of the NBA franchise:

We are deeply saddened by the tragic death of Lorenzen Wright. We lost a member of the Grizzlies family. Lorenzen delighted fans on the court with his passion and off the court with his generosity in a Memphis community that watched him grow throughout his playing career at Booker T. Washington High School, the University of Memphis and the NBA.