According to a story on ESPN Dallas by Tim McMahon, the Dallas Mavericks made history when they signed point guard Chris Wright, who is the first-known player to suffer from multiple sclerosis to a 10-day contract.
Wright, a NBA D-League All-Star found out he had the disease that affects the central nervous system last season while playing for Olin Edime of the Turkish Basketball League. Such a devastating prognosis hasn’t stopped Wright from remaining positive and using the disease as motivation for himself and others.
“That’s definitely one of the things I pride myself on, being the face of it and being an inspiration and motivation for people to keep fighting.” said Wright, who averaged 15.5 points, 7.0 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 1.6 steals for the Iowa Energy this season to earn a D-League All-Star bid. “I made history with this.”
Common symptoms of MS include fatigue, numbness, loss of balance, poor coordination, blurred vision and problems with memory and focus, according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, which estimates that more than 2.1 million people are affected by the disease. In severe cases, MS can cause paralysis. Wright originally was told by Turkish doctors that his basketball career was finished.
“The doctors told me that, but I didn’t think so,” said Wright, 23, a former Georgetown star who went undrafted in 2011. “I just knew it’d be a process, and when I got back, it’d be a good story.”
Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle, loves the addition to Wright to his team, not just because he’s talented but also because of his ability to bounce back from adversity.
“It shows determination and an element of resourcefulness, which I think is a very important quality on any NBA team, to have as many resourceful guys as you can. I know he’s very pleased to have this opportunity. And it’s going to give inspiration to others that may have similar conditions.”
Although, Wright hasn’t had any problems since the first episode in Turkey, there’s still a lot of maintenance involved and since the disease isn’t curable, he will have to deal with it as it comes.
“There’s not a cure for MS,” Wright said. “Can there be a relapse? Absolutely. But with the way I’ve been progressing and the way my body has been — it helps that I’m an athlete as well — it reduces the risk of that happening again. I just go from there and see what happens.”
The fact that Chris Wright was able to bounce back so quickly after receiving the prognosis and beat the disease mentally before defeating it physically, then make it to the NBA in a matter of months, shows a level of perseverance that is admirable. Very few people can take a body blow like that in a figurative sense and then shake it off quickly.