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Former Kentucky Star Terrence Clarke Honored by Adam Silver at 2021 NBA Draft

Blake SchusterContributor IJuly 30, 2021

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver escorts relatives of former Kentucky guard Terrence Clarke after a tribute to Clarke during the NBA basketball draft, Thursday, July 29, 2021, in New York. Clarke was killed in a car accident in April 2021. (AP Photo/Corey Sipkin)
AP Photo/Corey Sipkin

The NBA and commissioner Adam Silver honored the late Terrence Clarke on Thursday, acknowledging the Kentucky star by selecting him at the NBA draft and inviting his family on-stage to celebrate Clarke's life, accomplishments and acceptance into the league. 

NBA @NBA

With the next pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, the NBA selects Terrence Clarke from the University of Kentucky. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/LLTC5?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#LLTC5</a> πŸ’™πŸ€ <a href="https://t.co/fJYvShrgK3">pic.twitter.com/fJYvShrgK3</a>

John Calipari @UKCoachCalipari

Thank you to Adam Silver, Mark Tatum and everyone in the <a href="https://twitter.com/NBA?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NBA</a> office who gave Terrence’s family and all of us who loved him a special moment tonight. It shows the true heart of league and I thank you all. <a href="https://t.co/ypAzKHMUgp">pic.twitter.com/ypAzKHMUgp</a>

Clarke, 19, died in a car crash following a predraft training session in Los Angeles on April 22. The Wildcats freshman was expected to hear his name called on draft night. Silver made sure it happened anyways.  

The NBA and WNBA have a history of honoring players who were expected to become draft picks. In 2014, Silver made Baylor star Isaiah Austin the NBA's honorary draft pick after the forward was diagnosed with a mild form of Marfan syndrome during the predraft process. 

During the WNBA Draft in 2020, commissioner Cathy Engelbert announced Alyssa Altobelli, Payton Chester, and Gianna Bryant as honorary draft picks following a helicopter crash that killed all three, along with Kobe Bryant, that January. 

Clarke may not have gotten to hear his name called on the NBA stage, but he is now just as much a member of the league as any player who came before him.