June 28, 2013
WASHINGTON - Former Georgetown University men's basketball All-BIG EAST guard Chris Wright (C'11) has faced challenges in his life. And every time, Wright has faced them with the same attitude, never quitting and never giving up.
When he was faced with the challenge of pursuing his lifelong dream of playing in the NBA and doing so after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, Wright wasn't the type of person to shy away from reaching that goal despite what many people thought could or could not be done.
And that's what made it more rewarding for Wright when he was signed to a 10-day contract during the NBA season by the Dallas Mavericks becoming, in the process, the first player in NBA history to play with MS.
This weekend, Wright will continue to bring more light to his fight against MS when he hosts his first MS Basketball Jamboree on Saturday, June 29 at St. John's College High School in Chevy Chase, Md. The benefit runs from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and tickets cost $20 apiece and 100 percent of the profits will directly benefit the MS Foundation.
The Jamboree will feature a show by local rapper Shy Glizzy, a conditioning workout for local athletes, a basketball game featuring St. John's College High School and a game that could feature NBA standouts including former Georgetown All-American Jeff Green as well as Kevin Durant and Michael Beasley.
After a standout career at Georgetown, Wright went overseas to pursue his professional dream. While playing in Turkey, and in the midst of a terrific rookie season, Wright did not feel well at a practice and began to lose feeling in the right side of his body. The next morning, he couldn't work. He was taken to a specialist and diagnosed with MS, 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.
"It was tough for me at the time, but the worst thing I could do was be negative," Wright said. "I just had to realize this is what it is and take steps to get back to what you want do."
Wright and his family met with doctors and came up with a plan to first treat the MS, but then to see if he could get on the court.
"It was a process and last summer was a serious time for me and my family to figure out what we could do," Wright said. "I was more concerned with treatment first and then seeing if I could get a chance to play."
He did just that, joining the NBA Developmental League this year and playing with the Iowa Energy, where he was a D-League All-Star prior to his call up from the Wizards.
After getting his taste of the NBA this season with the Mavericks, Wright's goal is to continue to work hard to make that dream a reality again.
"My goal this year was to make it to the NBA," Wright said. "Once I got called up, it was the icing on the cake this year. But that was my goal for this year and I want to continue that next year."
The fight he has to make, not only to play professionally, but then after being diagnosed with MS, has made him even more determined, which is why he is excited to host his Jamboree this weekend.
"There are a lot of people who don't know about MS and I'm hoping people can come out to learn about it and help to fight the disease," he said. "People don't know what it is, the side effects or some of the symptoms. A lot of people who have MS aren't even aware they have it. I'm glad that I've been able to continue to play and show people that you can still pursue your dreams."