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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Abe Asher

22-year-old NBA draft pick retires from basketball citing anxiety: ‘I can’t continue this fight any longer’


Tyrell Terry has retired from professional basketball at 22 years old due to mental health challenges, he announced in an Instagram post last Friday.

Terry, a standout college basketball player at Stanford, was drafted by the Dallas Mavericks with the first pick of the second round of the NBA draft in 2020 but only appeared in 11 games in Texas before moving to the Memphis Grizzlies last season. He played in two games and was waived over the summer.

“To most, I will be forever known as a bust, a failure, or a waste of talent,” Terry wrote. “While those may be true when it comes to basketball, it is the biggest failures in life that lead to the greatest success. 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.”

In his post, which has since been deleted, Terry described the crippling anxiety that marred his basketball career.

“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 wrote. “This is just a brief description of the anxiety this sport has caused me, and while I’m grateful for every door it has opened for me, I can’t continue this fight any longer for something I have fallen out of love with.”

Stigmas around vulnerability and mental health have long prevented athletes from opening up about the fact that they face difficulties like workers in every other field.

The last several years have seen an increasing number of athletes speak out about their mental health challenges, with the likes of Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers and DeMar DeRozan of the Chicago Bulls writing publicly about suffering from panic attacks and depression.

Terry grew up in Minneapolis, attending DeLaSalle High School on Nicollet Island and winning multiple state championships. He then moved to Palo Alto, where he helped lead the Cardinal in a season ultimately cut short by the Covid-19 pandemic. Now, Terry is moving away from the game entirely.

“I am eternally grateful to those who have believed in me and apologize to those that I have let down,” Terry wrote. “But I’m headed down a different path now, one that will hopefully lead to happiness and being able to love myself again.”

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