Former NBA player Tony Snell, 31, finds out he has autism after his son was diagnosed when he was 18 months old
- Snell said after his son was diagnosed, he decided to get tested himself
- He played on six NBA teams in his career, but played in the G-League in 2023
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Former NBA swingman Tony Snell says a significant diagnosis of his son led to something about himself being revealed.
Speaking on NBC’s ‘Today’ on Friday, Snell said he found out as an adult that he had autism after his 2-year-old son Karter was diagnosed when he was 18 months old.
‘I’m like, ‘You know what, if he’s diagnosed [with autism]so i think i am [on the autism spectrum] Also.’ So that gave me the courage to go get checked,’ Snell told ‘Today’.
Snell said that growing up in California he was “always independent…Always alone”. I just couldn’t connect with people on the personal side of things.
While it might come as a surprise that he wasn’t diagnosed until he was 31, Snell said the news made sense.
Former NBA swingman Tony Snell has said he was diagnosed with autism when he was 31.
Snell says his son’s diagnosis at 18 months led him to get tested for autism too
“I wasn’t surprised, because I always felt different,” Snell said. ‘I was just relieved, like ‘Ahh, that’s why I am the way I am.
“It just gave my whole life, everything about my life, has so much meaning. It was like clarity, like putting on 3D glasses.
Snell was selected 20th overall by the Chicago Bulls in the first round of the 2013 NBA draft.
He played for the Milwaukee Bucks, Detroit Pistons, Atlanta Hawks, Portland Trail Blazers and most recently with the New Orleans Pelicans during his NBA career.
This season, Snell played for the Maine Celtics – the G-League affiliate of the Boston Celtics.
Snell said not being diagnosed earlier in his life might have been helpful in his efforts to get into the NBA.
Snell has played for six NBA teams – but spent last season in Maine in the G-League
“I think I probably would have been limited with the things that I could probably do,” Snell said. “I don’t think I would have been in the NBA if I had been diagnosed with autism” [at his son’s age].
“Because at the time, what was autism? They probably would have put a limit or cap on my abilities.
As for his son, Snell says he wants to make sure that, ‘[he] knows I have his back.
“When I was a kid I felt different, but I can show him that I’m here with you and we’re going to ride together, we’re going to grow together and we’re going to accomplish a lot together.