Lorenzen Wright Missed During Grizzlies Playoff Run

Lorenzen Wright 1975 - 2010

The Memphis Grizzlies are making an incredible impact in the 2011 NBA Playoffs. As an “8 seed” team, not many expected them to successfully compete against the top-seeded San Antonio Spurs.

Quite the contrary.

The Grizzlies lead the Spurs 3-1 in a seven game series that has exposed San Antonio’s age. This Memphis team is proving that the guard is changing in the NBA as young talent like O.J. Mayo and others throughout the league have emerged with fierce competitiveness and excitement.

The excitement surrounding the Grizzlies playoff run is bittersweet though, as pointed out by veteran Shane Battier and Coach Lionel Hollins.

Lorenzen Wright would have LOVED this.

I know he would have loved this atmosphere tonight,” Battier said. “He would have loved to have been playing first of all. He was a quintessential Grizzly.

– Shane Battier

Certainly, Wright is with this Grizzlies team in spirit (although his final team was the Cleveland Cavaliers). He was a Memphis man through and through. Wright was raised in Memphis, played high school and college ball in Memphis, and had the honor of playing part of his pro career in Memphis. His impact on this city was huge.

I can’t help but think he is with Pau Gasol too, encouraging him. One can’t help but wonder, on those days when Pau is his toughest self, if he is drawing from Lorenzen’s strength.

Watch Lionel Hollins speak about the passing of Lorenzen and his impact on Pau Gasol when the two were teammates.

Wright was found murdered on July 28, 2010. No one has been charged, and seemingly this case is going cold. But, the Grizzlies hold his memory dear, and wouldn’t be nice if they were playing for “Wren.”

In related news, Larry Finch, former Memphis Tigers coach, passed away April 2, 2011. Finch coached Wright, as well as Penny Hardaway, Elliot Perry and David Vaughn.

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