Mar 13, 2013, 8:49 PM EDT
Chris Wright, the former Georgetown point guard, signed a 10-day contract with the Dallas Mavericks, reports ESPNDallas.com. Which is normally the kind of note that gets glossed over this time of year.
But Wright is breaking a barrier — he is the first known player in the NBA diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
The disease, commonly known as MS, impacts the brain and spinal cord when the protective sheaths around the nerves become damaged, which in turn can cause the nerve to slow down or stop. There are an estimated 2.1 million people in the United States with the disease.
Symptoms vary but can include loss of balance, problems walking or moving your arms, muscle spasms, weakness in the arms and legs, and coordination problems. All of which would make playing basketball at any level difficult, let alone at the NBA level. There is no known cure for the disease but there are treatments to help slow and manage the disease.
Wright started to have symptoms and was diagnosed while playing in Turkey last year. As you can imagine, the doctors told Wright it was time to find a new line of work, he told ESPNDallas.com.
“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.”
Wright was able to start playing again in July and hooked in the D-League, where he impressed enough to get a call up with the Mavericks. Dallas coach Rick Carlisle has been looking for better point guard production pretty much all season, so Wright is going to get a look and a chance.
And it’s a chance to be more than just a baller.
“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.”
You can’t do anything other than wish Wright the best of luck.
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