I’m the First NBA Player With MS—I Know the Power of 'the Village'

Multiple sclerosis could've ended my career before it began, but my family kept me going.

I'm Chris Wright, a professional basketball player currently playing in Spain. As the only person with multiple sclerosis (MS) to have ever played in the NBA, I credit my wife Erin for giving me the strength to live my best life. Despite my diagnosis, I've never let it hold me back from achieving my goals and advocating for MS awareness. I know firsthand the importance of having a strong support system, both personally and professionally, when dealing with a chronic illness.

My journey as an athlete with MS has been challenging. Early in my career, I had to prove to skeptics that I was physically capable of handling the demands of professional basketball. Despite facing rejection, I stayed persistent, and over time, I was able to quiet the doubts and continue my career without too many setbacks.

I’m also a father. It can be a challenging and sometimes unforgiving journey. My children don't care if I'm experiencing symptoms or a flare, they still have needs and want to have fun. I usually manage my symptoms through self-care and Mavenclad. I’m also the spokesperson for Express4MS, I'm encouraging people with MS to advocate for their needs and to understand the importance of self-advocacy and perseverance. 

NBA Player Chris Wright and his family

Chris Wright

As someone living with MS, I've had to deal with flares from time to time, and it's not always easy. But what's helped me is maintaining a healthy balance in my life. I try not to overeat or stay up too late, and I make sure to get proper rest. As the doctor advised, I keep a log and write things down to figure out what works for me and what doesn't. By keeping track of my daily activities and conversations, I'm able to identify what triggers my flares and avoid them as much as possible.

A good day is every time we get up and be able to breathe and do what we want to do. On more challenging days, I can feel completely lethargic and moody. However, I believe in controlling my mind and telling myself that I am okay and that this illness does not define me. It's about taking things one step at a time and appreciating each moment, no matter how small.

Being a parent has been a tremendous outlet for me and has allowed me to focus on something other than my own struggles. 

Chris Wright with his children

Chris Wright

As I've been a parent with MS for over a decade, it has been a huge blessing in my life. It reminds me that I have another life, another responsibility that is most important to me. My wife and I always prioritize being parents first, even when it means multitasking and managing our own challenges. As I've learned through basketball, I may have lost the game, but I'm still a father, and that never changes. It's a responsibility that I take seriously and that helps me stay even-keeled, no matter what else is going on in my life.

I credit my success to the support of my family and friends, who have been there for me every step of the way. It definitely takes a village and I've been fortunate to have a strong support system in place. 

Chris Wright and his parents

Chris Wright

My wife has been my rock and my best friend since we were 13, and we have a great network of family and friends who support us. My parents and in-laws have been a huge help, as have extended family members and friends. They trust us to make the best decisions for our family, and we know that we can always count on them. They've offered to help on the days when I'm not feeling my best and have encouraged me on the days when I'm feeling great. 

Chris and Erin Wright

Chris Wright

Constant communication has been key, and we work together to make it as easy a transition as possible. It's unfortunate that not everyone has a support system like this, but I feel extremely blessed and fortunate to have them in my life. It's made all the difference in navigating parenting with MS, and I know that I couldn't do it without them.

If you're living with MS, I encourage you to seek out a strong support system and a doctor you feel comfortable with. I think owning your MS is the biggest step, and then everything else will come into play. Living with MS can be challenging, but my story is one of resilience and determination. I haven't let my diagnosis hold me back from achieving my goals, and I continue to be an advocate for MS awareness. 

With the right support system, anything is possible.

Chris Wright and his daughter

Chris Wright

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles