Mavericks 2020 Draft Pick Tyrell Terry Retires From NBA Due To Extreme Anxiety, Said He “Couldn’t Fight Any Longer”

NBA player Tyrell Terry retires citing mental health
(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Tyrell Terry, the 2020 second-round draft pick of the Dallas Mavericks, announced his retirement from basketball in an Instagram post Thursday.

The 22-year-old Stanford product said while he “achieved amazing accomplishments” and “made lifelong friends,” he’s “experienced the darkest times of my life” and for his mental health he needs to walk away from the game.

“To the point where instead of building me up, it began to destroy me,” Terry wrote. “Where I began to despise and question the value of myself, much more than those surrounding me could ever see or know. 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. 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.”

Terry appeared in 11 games during his rookie season. He then took a months-long personal leave. He returned to the team for a few days early in the 2021 preseason before another personal absence.

The mental heath issues Terry detailed in his Instagram post are something he’d been dealing with back during that rookie season.

“I was dealing with some mental health stuff that runs in my family,” said Terry early in the 2021 season. “I wasn’t really aware it was creeping up on me; it hit me kind of serious.”

The Mavericks released Terry in October 2021. He played in two games for the Memphis Grizzlies and spent time with their G League affiliate Memphis Hustle. Terry did not sign with an NBA team this season.

Hopefully, Terry is doing the things necessary to take care of his mental health. It seems that he has incredible perspective for a young man.

This is a stark reminder that despite what fans may think, athletes are human beings and not immune from the struggles of life.

Over the last several years athletes have pushed the conversation around mental health to the forefront. And while sports as a whole still remains stuck in the stone ages with how mental health is discussed and viewed, there is less of a stigma.

Hopefully, as we continue to evolve as a society, so too does sports. Less of the archaic jock culture and a little more enlightenment. It can still be the game fans love and enjoy while also prioritizing the well-being of the most important people, the athletes.