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Dallas gives Chris Wright a chance to beat the odds

The 23-year-old point guard is the first known player in the NBA to have multiple sclerosis. The Times' Ben Bolch goes coast to coast in the NBA.

March 16, 2013|By Ben Bolch
  • Maviercks point guard Chris Wright warms up before a game against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Maviercks point guard Chris Wright warms up before a game against the Cleveland… (Brandon Wade / McClatchy-Tribune )

Beating the odds

There's finally something inspiring about the Dallas Mavericks.

The team that appears destined to go from NBA champions to missing the playoffs in two years has a heartwarming story in Chris Wright, the first known player in the league to have multiple sclerosis.

Doctors told the former Georgetown star point guard that his career was over last year after his foot gave out while running sprints during a practice with a professional team in Turkey. Wright also lost sensation in and felt pain and numbness in his right hand, right arm and right leg, triggering visits to specialists who diagnosed him with multiple sclerosis.

There is no cure for the degenerative disease that can impair the central nervous system, leading to progressive deterioration of neurological function.

Wright, 23, earned a 10-day contract from the Mavericks after averaging 15.5 points, 7.0 assists and 4.3 rebounds for the Iowa Energy of the Development League. Though the signing came during National Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Week, it was hardly a publicity stunt.

Wright is in remission, not having suffered an episode related to his disorder since the one in Turkey last year.

"Can there be a relapse? Absolutely," Wright told reporters covering the team. "But with the way I've been progressing and the way my body has been — it helps that I'm an athlete as well — it reduces the risk of that happening again. I just go from there and see what happens."

Something Bruin in the draft?

UCLA hasn't had a player selected in the first round of the NBA draft since Jrue Holiday and Darren Collison in 2009, but that figures to change if Shabazz Muhammad decides he really wants to shake Commissioner David Stern's hand in June.

A league executive, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss college players publicly, said Muhammad was a certain top-10 pick should the Bruins freshman make himself eligible for the draft.

The same executive said UCLA freshman Kyle Anderson would be wise to return to college for another season.

"He has the body, at least, where an 82-game season won't just be a complete grind and break him down," the executive said of the 6-foot-6 Muhammad, "whereas Kyle Anderson, I think he needs to physically improve and just get more experience in college and get better in a lot of different ways basketball-wise."

New crossover moves

Nearly 22 years after he last appeared in an NBA game, Adrian Dantley still rules the lane.

As a crossing guard.

The Hall of Fame swingman works morning and afternoon shifts at an intersection outside Eastern Middle School in Silver Spring, Md., according to a report on Deadspin.com.

The job comes with a relatively modest yearly salary of $14,685.50 but has one key perk: health insurance. That's something Dantley, 57, does not get from the NBA, according to Deadspin.

Dantley, who played for the Lakers in parts of two seasons during his 15-year career, was recently observed lunging in front of a child to protect her from an oncoming car.

Looks as though he hasn't lost a step.

— Ben Bolch

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