Young NBA Draft Pick Retires: 'Darkest Times of My Life'

Tyrell Terry, 22, 2020 draft pick for Mavericks, says severe anxiety made him lose his love of the game
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 16, 2022 1:02 PM CST
Young NBA Draft Pick Retires: 'Darkest Times of My Life'
In this Feb. 23, 2020, file photo, then-Stanford guard Tyrell Terry prepares to shoot a free throw during a game against Washington State in Pullman, Washington.   (AP Photo/Young Kwak, FIle)

In 2020, Tyrell Terry was drafted by the NBA's Dallas Mavericks with the 31st overall pick, after playing one year for the Stanford Cardinal team as a guard. Now, following just two years in the pros, the young basketball player is retiring, saying he's lost his love of the game due to crushing anxiety that's made him reassess everything, per CNN. "Today I decided to let go of the game that has formed a large part of my identity," Terry wrote Thursday on Instagram, in a note he said was "an emotional one to write." The 22-year-old noted that although he'd achieved "amazing accomplishments, created unforgettable memories, and made lifelong friends ... I've also experienced the darkest times of my life."

"It began to destroy me," he continued, noting he suffered from "intrusive thoughts, waking up nauseous, and finding myself struggling to take normal breaths because of the rock that would sit on my chest that seemed to weigh more than I could carry." Terry appeared in nearly a dozen games with the Mavericks during his rookie year, missing some games due to "personal reasons," per Yahoo Sports. He was waived from the team in October of last year, then signed with the Memphis Grizzlies—but he only played two games with that team before he was waived again in the offseason and went to play for the Memphis Hustle, the Grizzlies' minor league team.

Terry concedes that somewhere in there, he lost his motivation to play. "While I'm grateful for every door [basketball] has opened for me, I can't continue this fight any longer for something I have fallen out of love with," he writes. Terry acknowledges that some may see him as "a bust, a failure, or a waste of talent" due to his decision to leave, but he's at peace with that. "While those may be true when it comes to basketball, it is the biggest failures in life that lead to the greatest success," he writes. "There is more for me out in this vast world and I am extremely excited to be able to explore that. And for the first time, to be able to find my identity outside of being a basketball player." (More NBA stories.)

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