Police have found the body of missing NBA player and former Memphis Tiger Lorenzen Wright in southeast Memphis. MPD has confirmed homicide investigators are on the case. Sources say he was shot multiple times, at least a dozen times. Thursday morning, over 60 MPD officers were at the scene combing the wooded area where the body was found for evidence.
Wright's mother, Deborah Marion, arrived at the scene Wednesday night with a handful of family members. She 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 returning 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.
Wright's body was found in a wooded area off of Hacks Cross and Winchester. The body was located behind the Fieldstone Apartments in Southwind. Family members and former players such as Elliot Perry and Penny Hardaway were also at the scene.
Former NBA star Penny Hardaway, who played at Memphis two years before Wright, said he heard the news from a friend and went to the scene near where the body was found.
"I cried. The emotions hit me immediately. It's just sad because we lost a good person and a brother," Hardaway said.
Elliot Perry, another friend and former Memphis player, also was at the scene. Wendy Wilson, who once worked as Wright's personal assistant, also was there and said Wright often used the road police had cordoned off as a shortcut to his mother's house.
"He was a good person. He did not deserve to die this way. God is not pleased with this," Wilson said.
A police report filed in Collierville said his ex-wife Sherra Wright stated that she was concerned and that he probably had a large amount of cash on him. Sherra told FOX13 a week made her worry. She said his going a couple of days without talking to their children has happened before but never a whole week.
Police are looking into a 911 call from Wright's cell phone the day he went missing. The call was a hang-up.
Wright's former assistant said police need to investigate Wright's wife and her friends. He and Sherra divorced in February of this year.
Monday marked more than a week since he was last seen by family at his ex-wife's house. Wright visited his mother in Collierville Saturday the 17th then his ex-wife and 6 kids, who also live in Collierville, on Sunday. There was a report he got his haircut in Memphis the next day but nothing more.
Debora Marion, his mother, had not heard from her son since Sunday of last week.
"That's not like him. He doesn't just disappear. No one hear from him. If I don't hear from him his daughter Laura hears from him. All the time," said Marion in an interview with FOX 13.
"How could he just disappear? Even with the barbershop with Tavio. The person that he was with, I know they are from Memphis and somebody has seen the news. Somebody would call somebody and she would say Lorenzen your family is looking for you. You need to call somebody," pleaded Marion while looking for her son.
"She said she had laid down and woke up and he was gone in her van. Then she went back and laid down again. When she woke up again her van was back but he was gone," said Marion while talking about the last time his ex-wife had seen him.
Wright played 13 years in the NBA with five different teams: the Los Angeles Clippers, Atlanta Hawks, Memphis Grizzlies, Sacramento Kings and most recently the Cleveland Cavaliers with 17 games in the 2008-09 season. Wright left the University of Memphis early for the NBA, and the Clippers made him a lottery pick with the No. 7 selection overall.
He averaged 8 points and 6.4 rebounds per game in 778 career games.
"RIP Memphis Tiger alum Lorenzen Wright," Chris Douglas-Roberts of the Milwaukee Bucks posted on his Twitter account. Douglas-Roberts said he didn't know what had happened to Wright or want to know.
A tentative press conference by Memphis Police on the investigation was postponed, with a Thursday morning release from the department which stated, in part, "Director Godwin hopes to release further details as soon as possible. We must follow the appropriate legal and procedural avenues... This protocol requires the cooperation of entities outside the control of the Memphis Police Department."
A memorial account for Lorenzen Wright has been opened by his family. Donations are being accepted at any Memphis area Regions Bank.