Chris Wright Exclusive: First NBA Player With Multiple Sclerosis Blessed Despite Adversity

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    Chris Wright/Instagram
    Chris Wright, the first NBA player with multiple sclerosis, during his days on the Dallas Mavericks.
By Christine Thomasos, Christian Post Reporter
April 17, 2013|8:09 am

Chris Wright, the 23-year-old guard, made history when he signed on with the Dallas Mavericks as the first player in the NBA with multiple sclerosis last month. Although he was later waived by the team, the budding guard spoke to The Christian Post about God blessing him through adversity.

Wright was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis last year while playing in the Turkish Basketball League on the team Olin Edime. The District of Columbia native told The Christian Post about his experience with the disease that attacks the central nervous system and even caused paralysis in some people.

While running sprints in practice last year, Wright described completely losing sensation in his foot. The next day, the whole right side of his body went numb.

Wright decided to consult medical professionals.

"After seeing some doctors and running some further tests I was diagnosed with MS. After probably about a 14 or 15 day period, it was very tough for me to walk," Wright revealed to CP. "I lost sensation in both of my feet, in my hands. I really couldn't feel anything so it was a tough time. I didn't know what was going on so it was a very trying time for me and my family."

Still Wright, a Christian who cemented his relationship with God after finding comfort in church as a high school student, did not give up hope. Wright worked hard to overcome his condition with the help of medical therapy.

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He returned to the United States to sign on with the NBA D-League's Iowa Energy, where the point guard averaged 15.5 points, 7.0 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 1.6 steals in spite of his disease.

The budding point guard soon caught the attention of the Dallas Mavericks, who signed him onto their team on a 10-day contract last month. Although his contract was not extended, Wright inspired his team and said he was blessed to be given the opportunity to make history as the first player in the league with multiple sclerosis.

"I'm very thankful to the Dallas Mavericks organization for giving me a chance despite my circumstances. They were the first team to step out there and I think it just is a testimony to God," Wright told CP. "Just God being there and no matter what always looking over me, just taking care of me despite whatever I might go through. It was a dream come true for me."

The Christian guard was given the opportunity to play and practice alongside NBA stars like Dirk Nowitzki, Vince Carter and Shawn Marion, which he deemed an invaluable experience.

"I was blessed being around Dirk Nowitzki and Vince Carter and Shawn Marion .. all the guys that have had a very good tenure in the NBA," Wright told CP. "I felt what it took on a daily basis for them to stay at that level and perform at the NBA level night in, night out."

Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle has even spoken up about the inspiration that Wright served for both his team and the league as a whole.

"He's been an inspirational figure to a lot of people. He's an NBA-caliber player. There's no doubt about that," Carlisle said in an ESPN report last month. "You do what he's doing-- playing a professional sport with MS-- that's going to be something that a lot of people pay attention to. It shows his motivation, his determination, but it also shows the progress that's been made in that area."

Now, Wright is working to bring awareness to multiple sclerosis while gearing up to take another shot at trying to play an entire season in the NBA. While he told CP that he hopes that his story serves as an inspiration to other people, the former Georgetown University graduate said he realizes that he has been blessed with a gift from God.

"It's a gift, God gives people these talents for a reason," Wright told CP. "You have to treasure it because it can be taken away from you very quickly."

 

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