Canadian Special Olympics athlete excited to play at NBA all-star weekend

TORONTO — Micheal Wright plans to bring some NBA-style finesse to the Special Olympics World Summer Games this spring.

Wright is the only Canadian out of 12 Special Olympics athletes competing in a Unified Sports game with players from the NBA and WNBA on Friday as part of the league’s all-star weekend in Charlotte, N.C.

Wright, from Mississauga, Ont., wants to meet Toronto Raptors star Kawhi Leonard and Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James and ask them for advice ahead of the Special Olympics World Games.

“That’s what I’m hoping for, to take some tips and bring it to the worlds and probably perfecting it,” said Wright. “Not that what they do isn’t 100 per cent perfect, but I want to make it my own.”

The 26-year-old point guard helped the Mississauga Storm win the national championship earlier this year. The team will represent Canada at the Special Olympics in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, starting on March 14.

The Special Olympics World Games is an international sporting competition for athletes with intellectual or developmental disabilities.

Getting to play with professional basketball players and represent Canada internationally in the same year has been a thrilling experience for Wright.

“It’s an honour and amazing that I’m the only Canadian at the all-star weekend,” said Wright. “I thought there would be two, maybe three, other Canadians. But it’s amazing and it’s an honour and I really appreciate it.

“I’m a little nervous to go to Abu Dhabi and see who we’re going to be playing against.”

Wright’s trip to the NBA all-star weekend came together quickly. He was approached by coach Wayne Meyer after a Storm practice with the opportunity and within 24 hours they had put together a YouTube video and written an essay with the help of his aunt Kimberly Wright, who will accompany him to Charlotte.

A week later, Micheal Wright got a call at home telling him that he’d been selected for the Unified Game. After telling his cousin and calling his aunt to spread the good news Wright went to his bedroom to lie down and absorb what was happening.

“I had to take a moment for myself and breathe. It was something,” said Wright. “I honestly panicked, I was so happy. My cousin was at home too and she was starting to wonder what was going on. My family is just really happy for me.”

Meyer feels that the decision to nominate Wright to go to the NBA all-star weekend was the right choice, especially after seeing how well the Special Olympics athlete has handled the extra training and responsibilities associated with the trip. More than anything, Meyer is impressed by Wright’s humility.

“The great thing about it is even with his teammates on the Storm, he doesn’t have that bragging mentality,” said Meyer. “Even at practices he doesn’t really talk much about it, but you know it’s there. When we talk about it, the excitement’s there.

“He’s the perfect athlete to be sending down (to Charlotte). I’m proud of him, I’m happy for his aunt, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime moment.”

Just Posted

Hundreds take part in Terry Fox Run in Red Deer

Terry Fox’s journey is more than a story. That’s why thousands of… Continue reading

Conservatives promise tax cut that they say will address Liberal increases

SURREY, B.C. — Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer continued making a pitch to… Continue reading

Intelligence official charged seemed to be ‘exemplar of discretion’: former colleague

A professor who once worked with an RCMP intelligence official charged with… Continue reading

More than 100 people participate in the Light the Night Walk in Red Deer

Red Deer’s Michael Wark was 27 when he was diagnosed with cancer.… Continue reading

‘Big bang’ precedes Red Deer house fire, says neighbour

A Red Deer home was heavily damaged by a fire early Friday… Continue reading

Fashion Fridays: 10 effortlessly stylish items for fall

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Your community calendar

Wednesday Central Alberta Historical Society annual general meeting is 6 p.m. at… Continue reading

Rebels stumble in final preseason game against Calgary Hitmen

Home opener on Sept. 21 against Edmonton Oil Kings

Kings and Queens soccer struggle against SAIT

The RDC Kings were unable to carry any momentum from a big… Continue reading

Two students dead, several seriously injured in Vancouver Island bus rollover

Two University of Victoria students died and more than a dozen other… Continue reading

Fewer trees, higher costs blamed for devastating downturn in B.C. forestry

VANCOUVER — High log prices and dwindling timber supply are driving the… Continue reading

Federal party leaders address gun violence in wake of weekend shooting

OTTAWA — Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau says he’ll be speaking later Sunday… Continue reading

UAW members on the job at GM plants after contract expires

DETROIT — The four-year contract between General Motors and the United Auto… Continue reading

Five things to watch for in the Canadian business world in the coming week

TORONTO — Five things to watch for in the Canadian business world… Continue reading

Most Read