Many top American basketball players, especially those not drafted by the NBA, head overseas to continue their playing careers.
That is the case for Chris Wright, 25, who grew up in Bowie and played at St. John's College High and Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., then headed to Europe to continue his play.
In 2012, while playing in Turkey, Wright learned that he had multiple sclerosis. The next year he began the Chris Wright Foundation to provide education and awareness of multiple sclerosis, as well as to provide charitable giving to other nonprofit organizations, according to a release from Georgetown University.
Wright said the foundation has given more than $6,500 to Dreammakers, a nonprofit organization supporting children whose parents have MS.
The foundation is now holding its first fundraiser, Bowling to Fight Multiple Sclerosis, on Sunday, March 1 from 2 to 6 p.m. at the Laurel AMF Bowling Center.
Since he is currently playing in Italy, Wright will not be able to attend, according to Michelle Boykins, a communications advisor for the bowling event.
"We are hoping to have a packed house," Wright said. "We hope to sell as many tickets as possible."
The former Georgetown standout said he may come back to the area in April for another fundraiser.
Wright said in a telephone interview from Italy that his diagnosis for MS came about by accident — which turned out to be providential.
"While I was in Turkey, I was in practice and running sprints at the end of practice," he said. "I hurt my ankle and I had this tinkling feeling. I thought it would go away but it got progressively worse."
Eventually the right side of his body became numb and he saw a specialist.
"When I was diagnosed I had no idea what MS was. I had no clue," he said.
A former all-Met player at St. John's, Wright was an All-Big East third-team player in 2010-11 when he averaged 12.9 points per game for Georgetown. The 6-foot-1 guard also averaged 5.28 assists per contest and he had 12 assists in a game twice.
He became the 42nd player to reach 1,000 points with the Hoyas and he ended his career with 1,369 points and 442 assists, the sixth-best total in school history.
In addition to playing in Turkey and Italy, Wright has also played pro ball in France and this season has played with the Iowa Energy and Bakersfield Jam in the NBA Developmental League.
He played in three games off the bench with NBA's Dallas Mavericks in 2012-2013 and became the first known player with MS to appear in the league.
And how has he dealt with MS as a pro player?
"Just another obstacle to overcome," he said. "Fatigue at times has been a problem but I've learned how to manage those. ... Consistently working out and being on the court helps me with MS."