Boston Celtics

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JULY 29: NBA commissioner Adam Silver gives a memorial in honor of Terrence Clarke during the 2021 NBA Draft at the Barclays Center on July 29, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images)

Draft day is a special moment for so many people – for the players, their families, their coaches and mentors, and everyone who has helped them get to the pros. Terrence Clarke, who was born and raised in Dorchester, MA, was supposed to have that moment on Thursday. Heartbreakingly, he didn’t make it to his draft day. The 19-year-old died in a car accident earlier this year.

Although Clarke couldn’t walk across the stage and shake Commissioner Adam Silver’s hand himself, the NBA did not let the night pass without recognizing the Massachusetts native. Silver paused the draft mid-way through the first round to invite Clarke’s mother, sister and brother onto the stage. While the crowd climbed to their feet, Silver announced that the NBA was drafting Clarke, an honor that he deserved.

“He was so ready for it, so excited,” Clarke’s mother Osmine told ESPN. “It’s all he talked about, just going to the draft, like, ‘Mommy, am I ready for this? This is big.’ And I’m like, ‘Yes, Terrence, you wouldn’t be in this position if you didn’t, if people didn’t think you were this good.”

Clarke grew up as a Celtics fan, going to games in the Garden. He became close with many of the current Boston players and aspired to play on the parquet one day. After the NBA’s selection of Clarke, tributes poured out on social media, including one from his favorite team.

Clarke played at Kentucky where he averaged ten points in eight games last season before being sidelined with a leg injury. Before college, the guard attended Rivers School in Weston, MA and Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, NH where he won the 2019 National Prep Championships. Clarke was projected to be a mid- to late-first round pick in the 2021 NBA Draft.