NBA player retires at 22, says anxiety led to "darkest times of my life"
Former Dallas Mavericks guard Tyrell Terry retires at 22 years old. (Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports)
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2020 NBA first-round pick Tyrell Terry announced his retirement on Instagram Thursday.

“This message is a very difficult one to share and an emotional one to write,” Terry wrote. “Today I decided to let go of the game that has formed a large part of my identity.” The 22-year-old guard explained that his decision comes after he “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 explained in part.

According to Complex, Terry was selected by the Dallas Mavericks with the 31st overall pick. He declared for the NBA Draft after his freshman season at Stanford, where he averaged 14.6 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game, and was named to the Pac-12 All-Freshman Team. After playing in 11 games with the Mavericks during his rookie season, Terry was waived, and picked up by the Memphis Grizzlies two months later.

On New Year’s Day 2022, the Grizzlies inked Terry to a two-way contract, which means he could bounce between the professional team and its G League affiliate. He was waived by Memphis in July.

He also played for the G League and made two appearances with the Memphis Grizzlies in his NBA career.

Black men and mental health

Forbes‘ Maia Niguel Hoskin reports many Black men internalize the idea that their value lies in what they can contribute physically, such as through sports, or performing physical labor, and that discussing or exploring psychological or emotional concerns is in direct contradiction to societal expectations.

Terry’s announcement to retire comes days after the tragic news of DJ tWitch’s suicide, and on the cusp of hip hop artist Ab-Soul’s long anticipated album, Herbert, which was released Friday morning.

Soul, real name, Herbert Anthony Stevens IV, talks about his battles with depression and how a 50-foot freeway plummet nearly ended his life in a failed suicide attempt.

YouTube video

As he continues to recover from the nearly fatal fall, Stevens, a lyrical savant, aims to connect with more people who have suffered as well.

Hoskin also reports Black men experience unique challenges that other men don’t face because of the attention placed on their looks and bodies — and rarely on their mental or emotional intelligence.

Research suggests that in many spaces, Black men are expected to be strong and resilient physically. They are encouraged to do well in athletics and to engage and thrive in physical activities, but not in activities that promote learning or emotional or mental growth.

The foundation of this Black masculinity construct is laid early, with many Black men growing up believing their psychological and emotional health and wellness do not have an inherent or productive value to other members of the Black community or to society as a whole.

NBA Mind Health has resources to help all

While Terry is choosing to walk away before resenting the very sport he once fell in love with, he now has his life ahead of him to decide what’s next, but he may have never make a more important decision than taking care of himself first.

If you or someone you know may be struggling with suicidal thoughts, you can call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) any time day or night, or chat online. Crisis Text Line also provides free, 24/7, confidential support via text message to people in crisis when they dial 74174.

Hailing from Charlotte North Carolina, born litterateur Ezekiel J. Walker earned a B.A. in Psychology at Winston Salem State University. Walker later published his first creative nonfiction book and has...