2021 NBA Draft
NBA honors late Draft prospect Terrence Clarke
The former Kentucky guard, who died in a car accident while preparing for the NBA Draft, was ceremonially drafted.
It was the dream of Terrence Clarke, like most young men, to have his name announced on the night of the NBA draft, and his dream was a realistic one.
As a highly-regarded prep player from Boston, Clarke played the 2020-21 season at Kentucky, then announced he was turning professional after his freshman year and immediately began training for the next level.
Just months later, he was gone, a victim in a fatal single-passenger car accident in the Los Angeles area in April. It was a shock to everyone who knew him and those who followed him, including many in the NBA community.
As a heartfelt gesture by the NBA, Clarke’s name was mentioned anyway Thursday when the league took the step of “drafting” him in a ceremony midway through the first round, following the lottery picks.
“His extraordinary talent, dedication and commitment to the game deserve to be recognized,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said. “He will forever be part of the NBA family.”
Clarke’s mother, Osmine Clarke, and family appeared at the Draft and walked on stage to meet Silver. They were feted in the name of the son and brother whose life was cut short at 19.
After leaving Kentucky, Clarke signed with Klutch Sports, the agency created by Rich Paul and LeBron James. He was a potential lottery pick who could’ve had the opportunity to elevate his draft stock higher in the combines and pre-Draft workouts.
He played only eight games with Kentucky because of an ankle injury, averaging 9.6 points, but many NBA scouts had him on their radar and projected him as a solid draft pick anyway. He starred at Brewster Academy, the same high school attended by Donovan Mitchell of the Jazz.
In a social media message after leaving Kentucky and before his death, Clarke wrote: “As an adolescent, having the privilege to put on the Kentucky uniform was always a lifelong goal of mine. Although it was hindered due to things out of my own control, the experience is something I will keep with me forever. I have grown a lot with this experience and I will never take it for granted.”
Fly high 5, you're an @NBADraft pick.
— Kentucky Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) July 30, 2021
— Klutch Sports Group (@KlutchSports) July 30, 2021
Rest In Peace, TC5️⃣🕊️
You represented your city proudly and will forever be a part of the NBA family. pic.twitter.com/Q9isuWNIFH
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) July 30, 2021
— Jayson Tatum (@jaytatum0) July 30, 2021
— Ja Morant (@JaMorant) July 30, 2021
— Donovan Mitchell (@spidadmitchell) July 29, 2021
— Jaylen Brown (@FCHWPO) July 30, 2021
R.I.P. T Clarke 💙💙
— Miles Bridges (@MilesBridges) July 30, 2021
— Royce O'Neale (@BucketsONeale00) July 30, 2021
— Thon Maker ™ (@ThonMaker14) July 30, 2021
Fighting these tears back man, RIP TC5🕊💜 Thank you @NBA
— Nassir Little (@2ez_nassie) July 30, 2021
This is so sad #TerrenceClarke 🖤
— Onyeka Okongwu (@BigO21_) July 30, 2021
You made it! I know you up there smiling right now lil bro. Shoutout to the @NBA . Special moment! LLTC5💙🙏🏾
— Jarred Vanderbilt (@JVando) July 30, 2021
The @NBA i respect y’all for that! His family will forever appreciate this moment 🙏🏾🙏🏾
— R.HollisJefferson (@IAmCHAP24) July 30, 2021