MATTHEW Wright doesn't understand the big fuss surrounding his decision to shear his majestic mane in favor of a cleaner cut as Phoenix Pulse continues its buildup for the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup.
"It's not really a big deal. [But] even here in Phoenix, they were teasing me," Wright shared on Friday as his new look prompted comparisons with former Ginebra high-flyer Chris Ellis and Los Angeles Lakers guard Lonzo Ball.
But for the Fil-Canadian gunslinger, it was a welcome breath of fresh air as he goes back to basics with his new hairdo.
"I just felt like it was a new year. This was my hair for a long time and I think it was time for a change, a new hairstyle, and I feel clean, I feel like I could just go out of bed and go, look more like a basketball player. Just a change of scenery," he said.
His new look coincides with a new age for the Fuel Masters, who are hoping to reach their first semifinals next season with Wright, Calvin Abueva, and presumptive Rookie of the Year Jason Perkins leading the charge.
Phoenix came close last conference after finishing the eliminations in second place, only to squander twice-to-beat advantage against seventh-seed Meralco in the 2018 PBA Governors' Cup quarterfinals.
That left a bad taste in Wright's mouth.
"Big time. I still haven't forgotten about that," he said. "When I went home, that was on my mind mostly. Just being able to have a chance to go up into the playoffs for the first time, we pissed the bed and lost two games in a row, so that can't happen again. Everyone's determined to make that a thing of the past."
And Wright isn't just targetting the semifinals. He has bigger goals in mind.
"I'll do whatever it takes to get this team to the finals and eventually win a championship," he promised.
Further proof to that Wright is committed to the Phoenix cause is a fresh three-year deal that reinforced his status as the Fuel Masters' franchise player.
"I'm here for the long run, and I've accepted the tag as a franchise player, so everything that comes with that title is what I'm gonna accept," he said. "I have to hold myself to a higher standard - I have to hold myself to a higher standard off the court as well.
"It's more than just basketball and improving on defense or shooting or ball handling - it's just like a way of life. You just have to become a man and become more mature, especially when you're put in this position."
"I'm really excited. This conference, you're gonna see a much different Phoenix team," he said.
As for his hair, Wright welcomed other people's opinions and said that if it doesn't look good the way he thought it would, it would be easy to go back to his old 'do.
"It's hair. It's gonna grow back. If it looks ugly, give it a couple of months, three or four months, it will be back to how it is before," he said.