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2021 NBA Draft: Kentucky's Terrence Clarke honored with emotional tribute with family and Adam Silver

CBS Sports logo CBS Sports 7/30/2021 David Cobb
a group of people walking on the court: Jul 29, 2021; Brooklyn, New York, USA; NBA commissioner Adam Silver honors deceased Kentucky player Terrence Clarke during the first round of the 2021 NBA Draft at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports © Provided by CBS Sports

Jul 29, 2021; Brooklyn, New York, USA; NBA commissioner Adam Silver honors deceased Kentucky player Terrence Clarke during the first round of the 2021 NBA Draft at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

NBA commissioner Adam Silver came to the stage with the Wizards on the clock for the 15th pick of Thursday night's NBA Draft, but prior to announcing Washington's selection, he delivered a moment far more poignant. Silver announced a ceremonial pick by the NBA of former Kentucky guard Terrence Clarke, who died in April after a car crash in Los Angeles.

Clarke, who was considered a potential first-round draft pick, was represented by his mother, sister and brother at the draft, and the trio walked to the stage, where they were embraced by Silver in a moment that struck a chord in the basketball universe. 

"To the three of you, to all of those who knew and admired Terrence, please know that he will forever be part of the NBA family," Silver said.

Clarke, a Boston native, was just 19 years old when he died. His hometown franchise was among those offering up tributes Thursday night, as the Celtics posted on Twitter saying Clarke represented Boston "proudly" and adding that he will "forever be a part of the NBA family."

A 6-foot-7 wing, Clarke played in eight games as a freshman at Kentucky last season and has not been forgotten by the Wildcats, or their coach John Calipari.

"I want to take a moment to remind everyone that this would have been Terrence Clarke's big night as well," Calipari wrote on Twitter. "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 his would have been hearing his name called. I've got a feeling Terrence will 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."

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