Chris Wright, whom the Mavericks just signed to a 10-day contract in hopes of patching their depleted backcourt, first felt something go wrong in March 2012. The point guard was playing professional ball in Turkey after going undrafted out of Georgetown the year before. He was running sprints during practice when, as he touched the baseline, his foot abruptly gave out. By the next day, he had no sensation in his right hand or leg. The diagnosis was Multiple Sclerosis.
"Honestly, I didn't know what M.S. was," Wright told Anthony Oliva for an NBA.com profile. "Then I remember a couple of my teammates came into the hospital and I was laying on the bed and they were all looking at me like, 'oh my God' like it's something serious, and I was just like, 'man, why you all looking at me like that? I don't even know what's going on.'"
M.S., as Wright would learn, is a big deal. It eats away at the protective covering around nerve cells and keeps those in the brain and spine from communicating properly. It's progressive, incurable, and not something that can be ignored in pursuit of a career as a professional athlete.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
And it's why Wright is gaining a bit more ink than one would expect to be spilled over a talented-but-perhaps-not-quite-talented-enough prospect trying to gain a foothold in the NBA. As Dan Devine points out out at Yahoo Sports' Ball Don't Lie, he's the first player in the league to have M.S.
His story isn't so much about blazing a trail for other M.S. sufferers as it is about personal triumph over adversity, even if there is an element of the former. There was speculation early on that NBA teams wouldn't want to take a risk on a player with a serious, progressive disease.
But Wright is undergoing treatment -- Devine writes that he receives monthly intravenous infusions of antibodies designed to fight the disease -- and the disease is reportedly in remission.
Meanwhile, he's refused to have health problems crush his dreams just yet. His place on the Mavs roster is admittedly tenuous but, for the team's sake as much as for his own, here's hoping he succeeds.