He Made $55M in the NBA, Ended Up Dead in a Field

Digging into the marriage and murder of Lorenzen Wright
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 18, 2018 12:30 PM CDT
Updated Sep 22, 2018 3:30 PM CDT
He Made $55M in the NBA, Ended Up Dead in a Field
Sherra Wright, left, the ex-wife of slain former NBA player Lorenzen Wright, glances at her new court-appointed attorneys July 11, 2018, in Memphis.   (Mark Weber/The Commercial Appeal via AP)

"It was pretty much a cold case by the time investigators got it," a Memphis, Tenn., police veteran says of the July 19, 2010, murder of former NBA player Lorenzen Wright. This though only 10 days elapsed between when he was last heard from and when his body was discovered in a field in Memphis. A half-inch of rain had fallen amidst 90-degree temps; Wright's remains weighed just 57 pounds. In a piece for the Los Angeles Times, Nathan Fenno asks the question, "Who Killed Lorenzen Wright?" He doesn't definitively answer it, but he examines the person investigators allege was involved—Wright's ex-wife, Sherra Wright—and their relationship, as based on interviews with three of their six kids, other family members, and a variety of documents.

She was the 21-year-old daughter of Wright's basketball coach when Wright was 16. A 2015 novel she wrote that was reportedly based on their relationship contains this line, which Fenno calls out: "He hated that she was all he had been warned she would be. She hated that her interest was officially sparked by a minor." There was money—Wright made $55 million over 13 seasons—but also allegedly violent arguments. They split in 2009 as his NBA days were coming to a close; foreclosures and debt followed, and the court ordered Wright to maintain a $1 million life insurance policy; his ex-wife was to be the trustee. Their kids tell Fenno there's no way their mom would have harmed their dad; investigators allege she compelled Wright to come to Memphis with "sexually explicit text messages" on July 17, 2010. Some 7.5 years later, she was charged with first-degree murder; the trial has yet to be scheduled. Read the full story for much more. (More Longform stories.)

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