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“D.Wright” Way

Nov 27 2007 11:49AM

A lot has changed with Dorell Wright since becoming the HEAT first-ever high school player drafted in 2004.

When Wright first arrived in Miami for his introductory press conference, the skinny, 18-year old kid was sporting an oversized brown suit. Sitting between his parents and Pat Riley, Wright had a big “Kool-Aid” smile, naive of the sacrifice and responsibility it takes to have a long career in the NBA.

By his own admission, he had a lot of growing up to do.

Now, the 21-year old Wright has adjusted to the NBA lifestyle. His cleanly shaven, school-boy face now has a goatee. His skinny, 200-pound frame is a chiseled 210 pounds and he has grown over two
inches. Although he still has a youthful spirit, Wright
takes a more refined, business-like approach to
basketball.

Dorell Wright has not only grown into an NBA player, but, most importantly, Dorell Wright has grown into a man.

“When I was younger, I didn’t have a care in the world,” said the fourth-year pro. “I didn’t have any responsibilities. It was time for me to grow up. Now, I’m taking the game more seriously than ever. I need to prove to myself that I can be the man and the player I know I can be. We’ll see how it goes.”

Wright spent the entire off-season in the gym working on his game – learning and playing against some of the best in the NBA. He balled with former NBA MVP Kevin Garnett and NBA veteran Cuttino Mobley on UCLA’s campus back home in his hometown of Los Angeles, CA. You may have even seen him in high school or college gyms around Miami playing pick-up games with teammates Jason Williams and Udonis Haslem and All-Star forward Carlos Boozer, among others.

“Our motto this season was ‘No Off-season,’ and a lot of the guys here took the motto and ran with it – working hard, hitting the weight room, getting into the gym and just trying to get better,” he said.

Wright is getting a lot of support from his good friend and teammate, Dwyane Wade. Wade has taken on the role of mentor for Wright. Even though Wade has only one extra year of NBA experience, the three-time All-Star always try to encourage and educate Wright on basketball and life matters.

“D.Wade gives me a lot of confidence,” he said. “He’s always in my ear trying to help me improve. He calls me during the middle of the night encouraging me – telling me to keep at it. It’s always a blessing to get advice from someone in the league who is around your age. D.Wade’s a guy who hasn’t been around long, so he’s learning everyday just like me. Every time he learns something new, he makes sure I’m the first guy he teaches it to.”

Lately, Wade, who has two sons, has been giving Wright a lot of advice on fatherhood. Wright is expecting his first son, a boy, in mid-February, right around All-Star break.

“I’m becoming a family man with my baby on the way,” he said. “There are a lot of things that are keeping me grounded and focused now. It’s making
me hungrier because now I have to provide for my
family. I just have to go out there and play for them
now and for my team.”

Wright knows that he is still evolving in the maturation process. At 21-years old and a child on the way, Wright knows it’s time to make the next jump manhood and begin doing things the right way.

“When I was 18, I had no worries,” he said. “Now I have to take on bigger challenges and more responsibilities. It’s all a blessing to me because I was the 18-year old kid with the big brown suit on when I came here the first day and now I’m becoming a man. I’m happy that I can see it myself along with everyone else.”