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Remembering Lorenzen Wright

August 4, 2010

On August 4, I had the great honor of speaking at a public memorial service for the late Lorenzen Wright at FedEx Forum.  Below are my prepared remarks from the service.


It is only fitting that in this room, where he thrilled so many, inspired so many, and enjoyed the love of so many of his people that we honor and remember Lorenzen Wright.  In this room, in this temple of basketball, he will always be finally and forever at home.

Of course, this was not his first or only home.  Just up the street that way, his career began, in the gym of Booker T. Washington High School.

Up the street the other way, the Pyramid, where he electrified crowds as one of our great Memphis Tigers.

He was a familiar presence in Memphis.  A young man who never forgot who he was, where he came from, the values that shaped him, and the people who encouraged him along the way.

Lorenzen’s story was one of those special Memphis stories where a man is able to transcend his roots, even while he represents those roots proudly.  He traveled the world, doing what God called him to do, but Memphis was always his home.  We were always glad to welcome him back.

God blessed him with otherworldly basketball skills but also with humility.  God blessed him with material wealth but also grace and dignity.

God insisted that Lorenzen return his gifts to his community, which he did, freely and happily and generously.  And in doing so, he became even richer in spirit and in love.

Because of all these things, Lorenzen Wright was exceptional: an exceptional talent, teammate, parent, and friend.  We mourn the loss of our friend, our son, our peer, Lorenzen, because in him, we saw the best of ourselves.  In him, we saw all the best of our city – resilient, hard working, faithful, excellent.  In him, we could always see our aspirations come to life.

But in the pride he gave us, in the spirit of excellence which he pursued, and in the many, many lives he inspired with his example, he will never be forgotten.

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