Below is an except of my maiden feature with NBA.com/Philippines.
Who is Luther Wright?
Well, if you were interested in the National Basketball Association (NBA) and into the booming trading card scene back in the early 90’s, chances are you would have been somewhat familiar with the promising center from Seton Hall University. Drafted 18th overall by the Utah Jazz in the 1993 NBA Draft that produced a number of household names such as Chris Webber, Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway, and Allan Houston; the 7’2’’, 313-pound center was selected to compliment another Jazz newcomer—center Felton Spencer.[i]
Described by draft analyst Hubie Brown as a player with “Great hands; can play with his back to the basket; and takes up a LOT of space,” Wright was seen as a strong and powerful[ii] project that needed to overcome concerns over his weight and lack of offensive skills before he could truly make his mark in the league.
Unfortunately, poor personal decisions during his rookie season led not only to the premature end of a promising basketball career but also set the stage for years of personal trials and tribulations. Today, Luther Wright is at peace with his past and keeps busy with his family, ministry work, music, and coaching. In 2010, he released his first book entitled ‘A Perfect Fit: A Memoir.’
Talking about hoops and life
Recently, I had the opportunity to talk to Mr. Wright about basketball, his health, his book, all-time favorite players, and who he thinks has the inside track to win the 2013’-14’ NBA Championship.
Tedi Villasor (TGV): Twenty years have passed since you were selected in the 1993 NBA Draft, could you share some of your thoughts leading up to shaking Commissioner David Stern’s hand at the podium?
Luther Wright (LW): “That moment was history in the making. Not too many people can say that they actually were drafted and sat in a room to wait for their name to be called and to actually hear your name called, and get your hat, and walk up on the stage and shake the commissioners hand. That moment was history in the making.
Along with the fact that I got drafted along with two of my former high school teammates[iii] (Bobby Hurley and Terry Dehare). I’ve known those guys my whole life and it has never been done again: Three guys from the same city, same AAU team[iv], and to be drafted kind of back-to-back-to-back on the same night is history in the making and that is a night that I will never ever ever forget.
[i] Acquired by the Jazz prior to the 1993’-94’ NBA Draft for forward/center Mike Brown. The trade for Spencer and the selection of Wright were made to shore up the middle after the retirement of longtime Jazz center Mark Eaton.
[ii] In his last season with Seton Hall (1992’-1993’), Wright averaged 9.0 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 2.2 blocks per game. He led the Pirates in rebounds and blocks that season.
[iii] Wright is a lifelong friend of guards Bobby Hurley and Terry Dehare whom he teamed up with during the one-year he played for St. Anthony High School before moving to Elizabeth High School. When they got to college, Wright and Dehare were reunited in Seton Hall University while Hurley played for Coach Mike Krzyewski in Duke University.
[iv] Amateur Athletic Union (AAU)