The Battles Of New Mavs PG Chris Wright
The Dallas Mavericks are a club trying to beat the odds and qualify for the NBA playoffs, so ideally, their planned call-up of D-League point guard Chris Wright will make an impact. But at the very least, the move is poised to help Wright make history. He's signed a 10-day contract and should he enter a game for the Mavericks (who play again Thursday in San Antonio) it seems he'll be the first American to play professional sports in the United States while battling Multiple Sclerosis.
"Chris is an inspiration to anyone affected with MS, and to all of us in general,'' Mavs GM Donnie Nelson told me Tuesday. "He's overcome all these odds and now he's ready to compete at the highest level in sports. It's a real testament to the kind of person Chris Wright is.''
Shortly after leaving Georgetown to start his pro career in Turkey, the 23-year-old Wright was diagnosed with MS, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and, at worst, can cause complete or partial paralysis.
"Honestly, I didn't know what MS was," Wright later told NBA.com. "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.'"
The 6-1 Wright continues to chase his dream, most recently with the D-League Iowa Energy, where he was averaging 15.5 points and seven assists per game in 38 starts this season. With Dallas, he'll take the roster spot of the waived Dominique Jones and battle for playing time among a crowded field of point guards that includes Darren Collison, Mike James and the little-used Roddy Beaubois.
"Teams may back off (signing me) because of'' the disease, Wright recently told USA Today. "That's their loss if they back off. … I think showing people that I'm capable of playing and not having any side effects or setbacks from it, I think that'll open eyes to a lot of people."
Wright is involved in a treatment regimen in which he receives monthly intravenous infusions of antibodies designed to fight the disease, medical work that reportedly has his MS in remission. (NHL goalie Josh Harding from Australia also has MS.) What he's about to do – during Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Week, no less – goes beyond basketball. And yet Wright is joining the 29-33 Mavs in order to help their on-court cause.
"All I know is it's a point guard,'' coach Rick Carlisle said. "Our basketball people like him, so we'll give him a look.''
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