Tyrell Terry, the 31st overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft by the Dallas Mavericks, announced his retirement from basketball on Thursday in a moving Instagram post that detailed his battle with anxiety.
“Today I decided to let go of the game that has formed a large part of my identity. Something that has guided my path since I took my first steps,” Tyrell Terry discuss “While I have achieved amazing accomplishments, created unforgettable memories, and made lifelong friends … I’ve also experienced the darkest times of my life. To the point where instead of building me up, it began to destroy me.”
Terry’s brief career was documented in the message’s photo captions. The post featured images from his early hooper years in Minneapolis, followed by De La Salle High School, Stanford, and finally Dallas.
Tyrell Terry played in 11 games over the course of one season with the Mavericks. Before being waived, he skipped three games for “personal reasons.”
I know a lot of you have been concerned about Tyrell Terry, but I spoke with him last week, & he’s doing ok. I know it’s natural to want to know more, but “personal reasons” are just that — personal. Hopefully he can have more of a normal year next year with a full NBA offseason.
— Dalton Trigg (@dalton_trigg) May 4, 2021
He participated in the G League as well and appeared twice for the Memphis Grizzlies.
Terry was a promising draft prospect whose decision to enter the draft and become Stanford University’s first one-and-done player in program history shocked many. There, he recorded game averages of 14.6 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 3.2 assists. Additionally, he had the highest Pac-12 free throw percentage (.891) mark.
When the Mavericks called his name during the selection broadcast on ESPN, he was spotted sobbing.
— Stanford Men's Basketball (@StanfordMBB) November 19, 2020
Terry remarked, “I began to hate and question the value of myself, much more than anyone surrounding me could ever see or know.”
The tough symptoms he had included “intrusive thoughts, waking up nauseated, and finding myself unable to take normal breaths because of the rock that would rest on my chest that appeared to weigh more than I could carry.” He also talked about how he struggled to breathe normally.
While Tyrell Terry may be viewed as “a bust, a failure, or a waste of ability,” he expressed gratitude to those who supported him and expressed regret to those he “let down” in his letter.
Psychiatry in the NBA
When Demar DeRozan tweeted, “This depression get the best of me,” the league became even more open about mental health in 2018. Later, he discussed his battle with mental illness in an interview with the Toronto Star. The star of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Kevin Love, was inspired by the interview to pen the Players Tribune essay “Everyone Is Going Through Something.”
This depression get the best of me…
— DeMar DeRozan (@DeMar_DeRozan) February 17, 2018
DeRozan and Love started a conversation that has continued since then, and a few months later, the NBPA introduced a brand-new mental health and wellness program.
In an interview with the Washington Post, Kensa Gunter discussed the humanization of athletes when she assumed her position as director of the NBA’s Mind Health mental health and wellness program in 2020.
“Being excellent and being elite doesn’t absolve you from being human,” she said. “We think, if you have access to all of these financial resources, if you are living in the public eye and you are exceptionally talented on the court and able to do these remarkable things the rest of us could only dream about, how could you have any issues? This chips away at that idea that people are successful because they don’t experience adversity and rather humanizes that conversation by saying, ‘This person who is successful also deals with challenges and learning how to manage and navigate those challenges is part of what contributes to their success journey.”