Rasheim Wright hails from the City of Brotherly Love. How he made it to the Middle East is proof that no basketball player knows what’s around the corner.
He played college basketball at the University of DC and had just returned to America after finishing a season in Argentina when he was contacted by his agent. “I was at home and got an e-mail from someone asking me if I would like to play in Lebanon and I wasn't sure about it but ended up going,”
Wright remembers. “And by going to Lebanon, I went with my team there to play at the Dubai International Tournament.”
That’s when Jordan coach Mario Palma saw him play. He was coaching the team Fastlink and they went up against Wright’s team. “We played against them and my performance helped me get a chance to get citizenship of Jordan,” Wright said.
Palma felt Wright could help Jordan and set out to get him naturalised. Owning a strong upper body, Wright, a former high school quarterback, has been fearless driving into the lane. He did it a lot of that at the 2009 FIBA Asia Championship.
But he was equally comfortable shooting jump shots. In Jordan’s vital win over Lebanon in the bronze-medal game, Wright erupted for 28 points.
Wright has grown comfortable in his situation and it’s due largely to the coach.
“He has a scheme in which he doesn't change what he does,” Wright said. “He says he has been coaching for 'X' amount of years.
He teaches well.I've learned a lot playing under him, outside of which, he's a great guy.
He takes time so we can understand each other. He now knows how I play, and I understand how he coaches.
He knew how to put it all together and we've been successful.” Now, it’s all about carpe diem for Wright. “I’m eager to show them what I got,” Wright said.
“This (FIBA) World Championship is it for me. It can either make or break my career, so I have to try and do my best against the best.”