Former NBA Star Brandan Wright Becomes ‘Dentist for a Day’ Celebrity
Throughout his life and 10-year career in the NBA, Brandan Wright was known simply by name.
On Wednesday, however, the 6-foot-10 Nashville native was known as Dr. Wright.
In partnership with Delta Dental and Neighborhood Health, the former Memphis Grizzlies and Dallas Mavericks player was the star of Celebrity Dental Day at the Napier Clinic in Nashville.
The former NBA forward wore a white lab coat while guiding the kids through the health clinic all morning.
“It’s very intimidating to walk into a doctor’s office or a dentist,” Wright said. “All you think about is the needles, the pain, you know, all of those things associated with a doctor. But these things can be momentary compared to something that could happen if you have a serious situation.”
Neighborhood Health has three dental clinics among 14 medical clinics across Tennessee. The Brandan Wright team, Delta Dental and Neighborhood Health provided free dental screenings and oral care to children of all ages on Wednesday morning.
The annual event typically transported children from organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club, but this year was moved to a walk-in format after being unable to transport children due to COVID-19.
More than 30 children attended Wednesday’s event. Each patient received a hygiene kit from Delta Dental and a backpack from Team Brandan Wright, his charitable foundation. Dr. Michele Blackledge, Dental Director of Neighborhood Health, and her team at the Napier Clinic welcomed anyone interested in a further assessment from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
“Some of those kids are maybe 13, 14 (years old) and have never been to a dentist,” Blackledge said.
Wright agreed with Blackledge’s sentiment, hoping his involvement would help encourage children to become more involved in their health. His foundation educated children on the importance of health, especially in athletics.
“We are already doing a lot with physical health, mental health, emotional health… it made sense to add dental health,” Wright said. “I hope we can educate children and adults alike, on the right things to do with their mouths and how to create a beautiful, healthy smile.”
In addition to providing dental service, the event featured free burgers and hot dogs, games, a photo op with Marshall Molar, and a chance to shoot baskets with Dr. Wright.
Four-time state champion at Brentwood Academy and three-time Tennessee Division II winner Mr. Basketball, Wright established the Team Brandan Wright Foundation to teach girls in grades 7 through 12 across Tennessee and Surrounding states to play basketball. Her teams train more than 140 girls, hoping to help them get a free education through sport.
“We just put our hand where it’s needed,” Wright said. “We do programs with the inner city communities, whatever we can do to try to help and raise awareness to try to put something on the map.”