Grizzlies’ power forward Wright leans on God at all times

By Bill Sorrell
Correspondent, The Alabama Baptist

Many professional basketball players develop a style or trademark move of some type. And those are frequently displayed after a great play.
But Memphis Grizzlies power forward Brandan Wright pulls his move out even in the routine moments — pointing his index finger upward — to acknowledge the Lord.

“I started doing it in high school,” said Wright, 29. “I think we get to a point where we become unthankful. God says be thankful for everything. I am thankful for the little things. I am thankful for waking up, thankful for family, thankful for scoring a basket, for being able to run the court, just little things you cherish because they are not guaranteed.”

Three “little things” he and his wife Tucker cherish are their three healthy daughters, Olivia, 3, and Reese and Zoe, twins born on March 3 in Nashville.

“Having twins, that is all God,” he said. “It’s one of the rarest things that can happen. I am special enough to be father of twins, only God can produce that. It’s an amazing thing in my life. I can’t believe those little girls are mine. It’s one of those things that is surreal.”

Family, he said, has helped take the basketball pressure off him and helps keep things in perspective.

“I don’t mean this in a negative way but basketball means less than family,” he said. “You have a bad day in the game and have a good day when you go home. That means more to me.”

God is always there

Wright said he’s learned he has to continue to lean on Christ both when things are going well and when life gets rough.

“You have something to lean on when times are good,” he said. “When times are bad you can have a purpose. That is the purpose no matter how the day goes. When you feel like things are terrible, as soon as you start to give up, He always lets you know, ‘Hey I am here.’ That is always big. You can always come back to Him. It’s going to be tough sometimes.”

And for Wright, there have been plenty of tough times. He has been on the roster of six different teams and, during his eight years in the NBA, he has suffered five injuries. He had shoulder surgery that caused him to miss the 2009–10 season, a right knee injury in November 2015 that caused him to miss all but five games of the 2015–16 season and a preseason left ankle injury that required arthroscopic surgery and limited him to 28 regular season games this past season.

Love for family and basketball

“Those things always put into perspective how blessed you are,” he said. “What opportunity you do have can all be taken away, just like that. It’s been tough. It’s tough moving your family from place to place and being away from your family. It’s tough on your body. It’s part of the business and you really have to love it.”

As he continues to lean on God he reads the Bible along with inspirational messages from friends and colleagues.

“I always try to put something in my mind that is Christ-related right before I go to sleep,” he said. “God being on my mind when it is time to lie down, when it is time to rest, He is the last thing I think about and hopefully He is the first thing I think about when I wake up. It’s awesome. The biggest thing is obedience. I try to get in the Word every day.”

Wright also intentionally surrounds himself with people who have a similar belief system, which he says will “create a great atmosphere” and is something that can be felt and not necessarily communicated verbally.

Memphis guard Wade Baldwin IV said Wright is one of those individuals who lives his faith.

“He is a tremendous teammate,” Baldwin said. “From all that I have seen he is an amazing family man. He has a wonderful wife, two new twin girls. You can tell that he is the total package: player, father, teammate.”

Being in the NBA, Wright said, has given him an opportunity to reach many more people.

“It’s amazing — you can do so much more,” he said. “You can touch so many lives … (and) kids listen to us. I want to lead young people to Christ (and) allow them to experience what I have experienced.”