Hundreds of fans, friends and family members attended the funeral of Lorenzen Wright, a 13-year NBA veteran who died of gunshot wounds in a mysterious case that police are treating as a homicide. The body of Wright, 34, was found on July 28 in woods outside his hometown of Memphis, Tennessee. He had been missing for 10 days. No arrests have been made and Memphis police will not discuss whether they have a motive or suspects.
Wright played at the University of Memphis before the Los Angeles Clippers made the 6ft 11ins forward the No 7 pick in the 1996 NBA draft. He later played for Atlanta, Memphis, Sacramento and Cleveland. He averaged 7.9 points and 6.4 rebounds in 778 career games. A hang-up call on the police emergency number from Wright's mobile phone in the early hours of July 19 has become a key piece of evidence in the investigation. The call was received by dispatchers in the Memphis suburb of Germantown, but they did not alert patrol officers or commanders because they could not confirm that it came from inside their jurisdiction.
The top police officials in Germantown said they did not learn of the call until July 27, eight days after it was made and five days after Wright's family reported him missing. Meanwhile, the NBA has revealed that Yao Ming and the Houston Rockets will play two exhibition games in China next month against the New Jersey Nets. The games will be played in Beijing on October 13 and in Shanghai on October 16.
Yao, China's must popular sportsman, missed last season with a broken foot. This will be the NBA's fifth set of pre-season games in China and the second involving the Rockets, who drafted Yao with the No 1 overall pick in 2002. They took part in the inaugural China games in 2004. Also, the Detroit Pistons re-signed centre Ben Wallace, 35, to a two-year contract worth $1.9 million (Dh6.9m) per season.