It seems like every single year, there’s one or more teams in each major sport that will hand out an insane amount of cash to a player. And within weeks of watching them play, they realize they made a grave mistake.
Fortunately for those teams, those contracts eventually die off and the players move on to sign another terrible contract with another franchise. Unfortunately for the Utah Jazz, they’re still paying for their mistake after drafting a player in the 90’s who fell off the rails.
Fadeaway World has the backstory:
“Luther Wright was a 7’2 center out of Seton Hall who was drafted with the 18th pick in the 1993 NBA draft, a draft which included the likes of Chris Webber, Penny Hardaway, and Sam Cassell.
Wright was selected by the Utah Jazz to play behind starting center Felton Spencer, and perhaps alongside backup power forward Tom Chambers to form a nice backup frontcourt for when Karl Malone sat out.
Despite his draft position and above-average sophomore season at Seton Hall, Wright’s stint in the NBA would be anything but successful.
After playing in only 15 games for the Jazz and only averaging 1.3 points and 0.7 rebounds across those games, Wright would be found by Salt Lake City police destroying property and causing a disturbance at a rest area just outside Salt Lake City in late January.
Luther would be diagnosed with bipolar disorder — A disorder associated with episodes of mood swings ranging from depressive lows to manic highs — during his NBA career, and after the 1993-94 NBA season had finished for the Jazz, Wright would be admitted into a mental institution for a 30-day stay.
Because Wright never completed his rookie season, let alone the length of his contract due to pretty rare circumstances, the Utah Jazz front office decided to do the right thing and beginning in 1996, elected to pay Wright the remainder of his owed earnings from his NBA career over a 25-year period, equalling out to $153,000 a year up until 2021.”
That means the Jazz still owe Wright $459,000.
Wright has since turned his life around:
Wright, who is an recovering drug addict, has earned a job at Seton Hall, his alma mater. He wants to be an inspiration to others: “I want my legacy to be ‘Luther Wright changed, so why you can’t change?’” he said.