Tamara Thompson describes Lorenzen Wright as a “hometown hero.”
“He did so much for the community such as holding free basketball camps and feeding all of the kids free every day,” Thompson told MemphiSport. “He was there physically encouraging the kids daily.”
That Wright, a former University of Memphis basketball All-American who played 13 NBA seasons for six different teams, gave earnestly to the community is among the reasons Thompson deemed it essential to assemble a video in his honor in which she highlighted Wright’s mother, Deborah Marion, during a two-part interview on her weekly show, Real Talk With Tamara.
The show airs every Sunday at 6:30 a.m. CST on Comcast channel 31.
Wright’s body was found on July 28, 2010 in a wooded area on Callis Cutoff Road just west of Hacks Cross Road, ten days after he left his ex-wife’s home in Collierville. Consequently, his family filed a missing persons report on July 22 and it was reported that a 9-1-1 call was made from his mobile phone on the morning of July 19 to a Germantown police dispatcher during which gun shots were fired. Nearly four years removed from Wright’s gruesome murder, the case is still being investigated as a homicide, although there have been no arrests.
According to Thompson, a longtime employee of a local law enforcement agency, she believes her recently-assembled video that features Wright’s mother discussing the events surrounding her son’s death and his contributions to his native hometown will convince authorities not to place the case by the wayside.
“I’ve always followed the case,” Thompson said. “It saddens me that a case with so many clues could go cold. To see his mother fighting for justice alone saddens me. So I wanted to use my show as a vehicle to help his mother keep his cold case out there until it’s solved.”
Also, Thompson hopes footage of the two-part interview with Wright’s mother would persuade authorities to raise more money for his reward fund, something she believes could force those who might perhaps have leads surrounding Wright’s death to come forth.
Since Wright’s shocking murder — which was highlighted on TV One’s Celebrity Crime files in September 2013 — Thompson has established a close-knit relationship with Wright’s family.
“She has been very welcoming,” Thompson said of Wright’s mother. “We have a common goal and that is we want to see this case solved. I’ve grown to really love her and even after justice is served — and I feel that it will be because I have faith — I still want to remain contact with her. She is definitely the epitome of a parent that’s a soldier for justice for their child.”
Besides the Wright family, Thompson said the video, which also is available on YouTube, will convince Memphians to keep an eye and ear out on a case she feels should have been solved years ago.
“I feel it would be positive, it will reignite the flame to want to see justice served, because this could happen to anybody’s loved one,” Thompson said. “We are able to put ourselves in Lorenzen’s mother’s shoes. She a grieving mother that just wants justice served for her son. This is somebody’s son. This is somebody’s father and brother. They all loved him and they want peace.
“I think Memphians will see this (video) and say it’s time that this case comes out of the cold case files,” Thompson continued. We want justice for our hometown hero. Because is someone as popular as Lorenzen Wright can be murdered and the case goes as cold as many clues as they have, what hope for justice does someone with less popularity have is this happened?”
An Oxford, Miss. native, Wright emerged as a McDonald’s All-American at Memphis Booker T. Washington before playing two seasons at the U of M. After declaring early entry into the NBA draft, the 6-foot-11 Wright was taken with the seventh overall pick by the Los Angeles Clippers in 1996.
His professional stint includes five seasons with the Memphis Grizzlies from 2001-2006. Wright last played for the Cleveland during the 2008-2009 campaign and held a career average of 8.0 points and 6.4 rebounds while appearing in 778 games.