The mysterious death of Michael Wright in Brooklyn shocked the basketball world on Wednesday.
The 35-year-old’s career began in Chicago at Farragut Academy and took him from Arizona through New York briefly and to several countries overseas.
Police have been trying to piece together the case, which led to them finding his body under garbage bags in the backseat of his Lexus SUV. Wright reportedly had a puncture wound to the head and a fractured skull.
The medical examiner late Wednesday ruled the death a homicide. No arrests have been made.
Wright was reported missing Sunday from his Closter, N.J., home where he was raising a family, according to NorthJersey.com.
Wright’s car was spotted Tuesday on a street in the Midwood section of Brooklyn. It was unclear why he was in Brooklyn.
According to ABC7 in New York, police were “looking into Michael’s recent involvement on an online dating site.”
Wright’s neighbors in Closter had nothing but good things to say about him.
“I tell you, it knocked the wind out of me to hear this,” said one neighbor, Tom Crescenzi, who added that Wright was a good neighbor. “I’d come home from work like now, he’d wave to me, I’d wave to him, we’d make a little small talk. He was a real gentleman.”
Another neighbor, who declined to give his name, said that Wright was “very pleasant.” He added that the family “kept to themselves” but that is not unusual in the neighborhood.
Michael Wright [1980-2015]
As a freshman at Farragut, Wright played on the same team with NBA superstar Kevin Garnett and Chicago hoops legend Ronnie Fields. After leaving Farragut, the powerful 6-8 forward went to the University of Arizona. Wright helped lead the team to the 2001 NCAA Championship, where the Wildcats lost to Duke.
Wright was selected by the Knicks in the second round of the 2001 NBA Draft but never played in the NBA. He had a long career overseas, playing on teams in Turkey, France, Poland, Spain and Israel.
“He left his French team in February and was planning to go back to Europe and play,” Randolph Berry, Wright’s cousin, told the Chicago Sun-Times. “The last time I talked to him he thought he had two more years left, he wasn’t planning on retiring.”
Contributing: Michael O’Brien