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Former Mavericks’ pick Tyler Terry retires from basketball, destroyed by anxiety

Tyler Terry

Tyler Terry decided to retire from basketball to relieve anxiety and, possibly, find happiness again. The 2020 n. 31 NBA Draft pick (Dallas Mavericks) said goodbye to basketball and explained his tough decision in an Instagram post. “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” Terry wrote.

He called the last few years of his basketball career “the darkest times” of his life, “to the point where instead of building” him up, it “began to destroy” him.

“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 weight more than I could carry,” Terry continued.

“This is just a brief description of the anxiety this sport caused me, and while I am 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 a bust, a failure, or a waste of talent. While those might be true when it comes to basketball, it is the biggest failures in life that lead to the greatest success.”

Very deep and mature words for a 22-year-old who was faced with the sad reality that dreams, sometimes, can be too heavy to carry and pressure in professional sports might, for somebody, be too strong to bear. A young man who was so close to make his childhood dreams come true, only to realize the NBA is not just that golden world he had chased. A young athlete that was forced to accept his happiness is more important than his sports goals and will be probably found far from a basketball court. 

Terry played 11 games for the Mavericks in his rookie season. After being waived in October 2021, he played two games with the Memphis Grizzlies in 2022 before being waived at the end of the season. Lately, he was playing for the Memphis Hustle in the G-League, averaging 13.2 points. 

“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 am headed down a different path now, one that will hopefully lead to happiness and being able to love myself again,” he wrote in his post. 

Terry’s extreme anxiety and “dark times” bring back the focus on pressure and mental health issues among professional athletes and NBA players in particular. 

Watch my interview with Kevin Love about mental health awareness.


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