If you haven’t heard, on Friday November 10th, there was an update in what was forever thought to be the stone-cold murder case of former NBA player, Lorenzen Wright. Wright’s body was found in July 2010 in a remote field outside of Memphis, TN. As it turns out, last week the police found a gun in a lake in Walnut, MS which they believe is the murder weapon. While this update is certainly good news in what is a tragic case this is not what I will be discussing today.
First let me give you a little background on the one and only Eric Hasseltine; Eric and I go way back to roughly 1998 or so when I began my lustrous radio career (he says in jest). Eric had just joined KHTK where I was a board-op, and we quickly became friends, eventually ending up roommates with a country DJ down the hall from us. In the early 2000’s Eric surprised us all when he took a job in Memphis, TN (nobody leaves Sacramento!) and eventually became the radio voice of the Grizzlies after the unfortunate passing of the great Don Poier.
Hasseletine is a sweet guy really, despite his somewhat macho ways. Just ask him about his high school prom when he first slow danced to the ever classic “You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feelin” by the Righteous Brothers and he may shed a tear or two for you. He’ll talk your ear off if you have him on as a guest but that’s ok because he’s full of great information and you’ll be hard pressed to find someone who knows more about the Grizz than my good friend Eric.
I decided to give Eric’s show a listen on Friday afternoon and I was quite simply amazed at what he gave us in his opening segment. He delivered the news of the update to the Lorenzen Wright case, and for all of you aspiring broadcasters out there, this is the time where you get out your pens and papers and take notes. Anyone can deliver a story. That’s simple. You look at the screen and read. No problem. But Eric didn’t just deliver the information here, he provided it in a way where you felt the story.
I don’t live in Memphis so I’m not 100% familiar with all the details of the story but I was so moved when he hit the air on Friday that I felt as if I had all the information that I needed. First, we heard about how people asked him if he hangs out with the players. Well no because he’s 45 now and that would be weird. Back when he first got to Memphis though, it would happen on occasion because he was quite literally the same age as a lot of them. Lorenzen Wright was one of those guys that was just a great guy and when the two of them would see each other outside of the stadium, they’d catch up and share a few laughs.
You’re going to have to trust me when I tell you that my few paragraphs here will not give due justice to how Eric painted the picture Friday afternoon. What I can tell you is that Eric does a masterful job of setting up the listener and almost immediately capturing your attention. He offers just enough background to bring you up to speed, personalizes it with his connection to Lorenzen and pulls out an emotional response that I honestly didn’t know Eric was able to do. These are the things that just come natural from a seasoned host which Eric has become.
I texted Eric to let him know that I was writing a little something about all of this and this was his response. “I had a hard time figuring out what to say. Very touchy subject in Memphis. Wren was a good dude. Made some mistakes most guys could make but he had a big heart and cared about Memphis more than people know.”
Well said, my man…very well said.