The NBA paid tribute to Terrence Clarke during Thursday night’s draft.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver following the lottery portion of the event recognized Clarke as an official draftee of the league.
“Terrence was expected to be drafted tonight but he tragically passed in April following a car crash,” Adam Silver said during the broadcast. “He was 19. His extraordinary talent, commitment and dedication to the game deserve to be recognized on this stage.”
The 19-year-old Kentucky basketball player and draft prospect died on April 22 from injuries from a car accident in Los Angeles.
A chant of “Terrence! Terrence! Terrence!” broke out at Barclays Center during the draft.
In a post on social media ahead of the draft Thursday, UK Coach Calipari said he wanted “to take a moment this morning to remind everyone that this would have been Terrence Clarke’s big night as well. …
“Not a day goes by that I don’t think about him, his mom, Osmine, and their family. I can only imagine how wide that smile of Terrence’s would have been hearing his name called. I’ve got a feeling he’ll be watching down on his teammates tonight and telling them to relax, enjoy the moment and have fun. That was the kind of person he was.”
Osmine, his brother Gavin and sister Tatiana were invited to the draft, and joined Silver on stage during the tribute.
“Please know that he will forever be a part of the NBA family,” Silver said. “… With the next pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, the NBA selects Terrence Clarke from the University of Kentucky.”
Clarke had announced in March that he was leaving UK for the NBA. He had missed most of the 2020-21 season with a right leg injury. He made six starts in eight games and averaged 9.6 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game.
The NBA in 2014 recognized Isaiah Austin, a center out of Baylor, as a draftee of the league when, days before the draft, the first-round hopeful was diagnosed with Marfan syndrome, which at the time made him medically ineligible to play basketball. Austin has played basketball professionally overseas since 2017.