Mavericks’ 2020 Draft Pick Announces Retirement at Age 22

Tyrell Terry

Getty Tyrell Terry #1 of the Dallas Mavericks passes against the Philadelphia 76ers during the 2021 NBA Summer League at the Thomas & Mack Center on August 9, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

When the Dallas Mavericks selected Tyrell Terry with their 31st overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, the young guard’s future seemed incredibly bright. However, Terry only appeared in 11 games with the Mavericks during his rookie season and was released ahead of the 2021-22 season.

Six months after his brief stint with Memphis Grizzlies ended, Terry announced on Thursday, December 15 that he’s ready to hang up sneakers for good in a deeply personal message posted on Instagram. The former Pac-12 All-Freshman Team selection revealed his decision to retire stemmed from the fact that he was suffering from crippling anxiety.

He wrote, “This message is a very difficult one to share and an emotional one to write. 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. 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.”

“Where I began to despise and question the value of myself, much more than those surrounding me could ever see or know,” Terry continued. “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. 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.”

“To most, I will be forever known as a bust, a failure, or a waste of talent,” Terry added. “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.”

Before finishing his note, Terry thanked everyone who played a part in his basketball career. “I am eternally grateful to those who have believed in me and apologize to those that I have let down,” he concluded. “But I’m headed down a different path now, one that will hopefully lead to happiness and being able to love myself again.”

The comments section of the Minneapolis native’s Instagram post quickly filled with supportive messages from athletes across the nation. Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Tyler Lockett wrote, “Always stood for what you believe in bro!💯❤️ forever behind you 🙏🏽,” while San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance commented, “My dawg!🫶🏽.” Former NBA guard Brandon Jennings tweeted, “Tyrell Terry hope you find happiness brother 🙏🏾,” while Boston College’s Mason Madsen wrote, “Life is so much bigger than basketball. Find what makes you full❤️.”

The Athletic‘s Sam Vecenie tweeted, “Terry has always been a super thoughtful, intelligent dude. A guy that I felt like would be successful in literally anything he does in life. It’s sad that basketball seems to have brought him this anxiety and sadness. But he’ll do great things away from the court.”

Terry Missed Time During His Rookie Season Due to Mental Health Issues

Before the start of his sophomore season with the Mavs, Terry, at age 20, opened up about the personal reasons which caused him to miss time as a rookie. “I was dealing with some mental health stuff that runs in my family,” Terry said on Media Day, per Sports Illustrated. “I wasn’t really aware it was creeping up on me; it hit me kind of serious.”

Following his release a month later, the team sent him a loving message of support. “Family for life. Thank you, Tyrell Terry,” the Mavericks tweeted on October 18, 2021.

Terry Declared for the NBA Draft After Just 1 Season at Stanford

Following one outstanding season at Stanford, during which he averaged 14.7 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 1.4 steals per game, Terry declared for the NBA Draft.

For the Win‘s NBA analyst Bryan Kalbrosky tweeted of the freshman’s talent in June 2020, “Multiple sources have confirmed that Stanford’s Tyrell Terry ‘broke a record’ for a basketball IQ test administered by several NBA front offices this offseason. He averaged two 3-pointers per game, shooting 40.8% from beyond the arc.”

In addition to the Mavs, Terry garnered interest from several NBA teams. Bleacher Report‘s Jonathon Wasserman wrote on October 29, 2020, “Stanford’s Tyrell Terry got people talking by measuring around 6’3″ and weighing in at 174 pounds, a notable difference from the 6’2, 160 pounds Stanford lists him as. I’ve heard Terry linked to the Los Angeles Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers as teams showing interest.”

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