Hoyas alum Chris Wright raising awareness for MS
Local star Chris Wright looks every bit the typical basketball player, but his story is anything but.
While at St. John’s College High School, Wright became a Washington Post All-Met honoree. He stayed local for college, playing for Georgetown from 2007-2011 and then signed with Olin Edirne in the Turkish Basketball League. It was while playing in Turkey that Wright was given the shocking news.
“At the end of practice running sprints, ran down, touched the line, came back and my foot gave out,” said Wright. “I lost all feeling in the right side of my body…When I woke up the next morning, I couldn’t walk.” He was taken to a specialist and clinically diagnosed with MS.
Multiple sclerosis is a chronic disease that attacks the central nervous system including the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves. It can cause fatigue, numbness, and even paralysis in some cases.
Wright was undeterred and it was that spirit that not only allowed him to keep playing basketball, but also drove him raise awareness for MS. On Saturday, June 29, Wright will host the 1st Annual MS Basketball Jamboree.
Said Wright, “[There’s] a lot of people that don’t know about MS, don’t know what it is, don’t know the side affects of it, don’t know the symptoms of it. A lot of the people that have MS just aren’t aware that they have it.”
Wright already brought attention to MS through his basketball career. For the 2012-13 season, Wright signed with the Iowa Energy of the NBA Development League. In March of 2013, the Dallas Mavericks signed him to a 10-day contract making him the first known NBA player with MS. It also happened to be during MS Awareness week.
“That was my goal coming into this year,” Wright said. “It’s the reason why I played in the NBA-D League.”
The Jamboree will feature a show by local rapper Shy Glizzy, a conditioning workout for high school athletes, a St. John’s basketball game, and a pro game including Kevin Durant, Mike Beasley, J.R. Smith, Nolan Smith, and Nick Young, among others; players Wright hopes to call colleagues one day.
“I want to play in the NBA,” he said, “Have a long tenure, and hopefully prolong that into whatever’s the next stage of my life.”
Those may seem like a lofty goal, but it is something Wright has already proven is possible with his short tenure in Dallas. This time he hopes to make it long-term.
“Once I got called up it was kind of like the icing on the cake for this year. For THIS year,” he stressed.
Given what it took just to make it this far, I don’t think there is anyone that would count him out.
The 1st Annual MS Basketball Jamboree will run from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm at St. John’s College high school in Chevy Chase, DC. Tickets are $20 and 100% of the profit will directly benefit the MS foundation.