MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Applause echoed through FedEx Forum as the number "55" slowly took it's place in the rafters of the venue in honor of the late Memphis Tiger Lorenzen Wright.
Wright's mother, Deborah Marion, stood tall as onlookers smiled at the tribute to Wright.
The University of Memphis men's basketball program announced before the game on Saturday against Tulane that the jersey would be retired.
Penny Hardaway said the time to honor Lorenzen is long overdue.
"Lorenzen was born in Mississippi, but he was a proud Memphian," Hardaway said. "He showed that through his giving, his time, the giving of his money and had a humongous heart. [He was] definitely gone too soon, so not only is he getting his jersey retired, it's just never letting those memories leave us."
In his time at the University of Memphis, Wright earned numerous All-American offers as a freshman and sophomore. Wright is a top-50 all-time scorer for the program, tallying up 1,026 points in Tiger blue.
He led Memphis in scoring, rebounding and blocked shots during both seasons he played in the Bluff City and averaged a double-double for his career with 16.0 points and 10.3 rebounds. He finished his career with 31 double-doubles, the seventh-most in school history, and helped the Tigers to back-to-back 20-win campaigns and consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, advancing to the Sweet Sixteen in 1995.
The team said Wright will join an illustrious group of former Tigers to have their jersey hanging in the rafters: Win Wilfong (22), John Gunn (44), Larry Finch (21), Ronnie Robinson (33), Keith Lee (24), Elliot Perry (34), Anfernee Hardaway (25), Forest Arnold (13) and Larry Kenon (35).
In fact, Wright's jersey hangs right next to Hardaway's.
In his professional career, Wright served as a key role player for many teams, including the Memphis Grizzlies. Wright still holds the franchise's single-game record for rebounds with 26.