Tyrell Terry, a guard selected by the Dallas Mavericks with the No. 31 overall pick in the 2020 draft, cited overwhelming anxiety in an Instagram post announcing his retirement from the game.
"I decided to let go of the game that has formed a large part of my identity," Terry wrote. "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. 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."
Terry, 22, scored 13 points in 13 career NBA games. He was drafted after one season at Stanford, where he earned Pac-12 All-Freshman recognition.
Terry took a lengthy leave of absence for personal reasons during his rookie season in Dallas and again during training camp entering his second season. The Mavs waived him at the end of that preseason -- despite owing Terry a guaranteed $3.3 million over the next two years -- and he spent much of the 2021-22 season on a two-way deal with the Memphis Grizzlies.
"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.
"I am eternally grateful to those who have believed in me and apologize to those that I have let down. But I'm headed down a different path now, one that will hopefully lead to happiness and being able to love myself again."