Wright, 35, was found dead inside his SUV on East 16th Street Tuesday in Flatbush, Brooklyn. The medical examiner ruled his death a homicide.
"It's just a really good guy gone," said Dave Paladino, Wright's personal trainer.
Investigators said he had a suspicious wound on his head. Detectives are also looking into Michael's recent involvement on an online dating site.
On Sunday night, Wright was reported missing from Closter, New Jersey, by a family friend. Police entered him in a nationwide missing person database.
It's unclear why he was in Brooklyn. He was found under garbage bags in the back seat of the car.
Wright starred on Farragut Career Academy's basketball team in the mid-1990s. William Nelson, who coached him at Farragut, told ABC7 Chicago he was shocked and saddened to hear about Wright's death.
"He will always be remembered as one of the nicest, toughest and hardest-working people that I've ever known, both on and off the court. It is always sad to see such a life cut short," Nelson said.
Wright went on to play college basketball at the University of Arizona and was drafted by the New York Knicks in 2001. But he never made the roster. He played overseas for several years.
"Basketball was his life, but his greatest accomplishment he told me was his daughter," Paladino said. "Always smiling, everybody in here is devastated over the loss."
His sudden and mysterious death has countless people heartbroken.
"Just a nice guy, I can't say enough how nice this guy was, it's just horrible," said Michael Rosensweet, the victim's friend. "I'll always remember him as like, being a nice guy, a caring guy, a genuine guy, and somebody who is just a special human being you know, that's how he should be remembered."
WABC-TV contributed to this report.