Former NBA forward Tony Snell can thank his son for helping him learn something important about himself.
Appearing on NBC's "Today" on Friday, Snell revealed that he was able to discover as an adult that he has autism spectrum disorder after his 2-year-old son Karter was diagnosed at 18 months.
"I'm like, 'You know what, if he's diagnosed [with autism], then I think I am [on the autism spectrum] too.' So that gave me the courage to go get checked up," Snell told "Today."
As a kid in California, Snell said he was "always independent growing up. Always being alone. I just couldn't connect with people on the personal side of things."
Despite not being diagnosed until he was 31, Snell said the news made sense to him.
"I was not surprised, because I always felt different," Snell said. "I was just relieved, like 'Ahh, this is why I am the way I am.' It just made my whole life, everything about my life, make so much sense. It was like a clarity, like putting some 3-D glasses on."
After being picked by the Chicago Bulls in the first round of the 2013 draft, Snell has since played for the Milwaukee Bucks, Detroit Pistons, Atlanta Hawks, Portland Trail Blazers and finished the 2021-22 season with the New Orleans Pelicans. He played in 19 games this season for the Boston Celtics' G League affiliate. But Snell said he thinks that not being diagnosed earlier in his life actually helped him reach the NBA.
"I think I'd have probably been limited with the stuff I could probably do," Snell said. "I don't think I'd have been in the NBA if I was diagnosed with autism [at his son's age]. Because back then, like, what is autism? They'd have probably put a limit or a cap on my abilities."
Ultimately Snell said he just wants to support his son.
"I want to make sure my son knows that I have his back," Snell said. "When I was a kid, I felt different, but I can show him that I'm right here with you and we're going to ride this thing together, we're going to grow together and we're going to accomplish a lot of things together."