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Tony Snell fails to sign with NBA team before Feb. 2 deadline for year of service and retirement benefits

Former NBA player Tony Snell's story of wanting to get health insurance for his sons has gone viral.

The NBA trade deadline is usually a time of speculation about the future of big-name players, but recently, the focus has been on a former player who isn't even in the league right now. Tony Snell, a former NBA wing, has been in the spotlight after a story by Yahoo's Jake Fischer highlighted his quest to secure lifetime health insurance for his children.

Snell, who has played in the NBA for nine years, is just short of the 10-year mark needed to qualify for premium retirement benefits, which include lifetime health insurance for his entire family. Both of Snell's sons have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, and Snell himself is also on the autism spectrum. The NBA's retirement benefits provide lifetime health insurance for players with three years of experience, but the premium benefits require 10 years of service.

In an effort to reach that 10-year milestone, Snell has been playing for the G-League's Maine Red Claws this season, hoping to catch the attention of an NBA team before the February 2 deadline. However, despite his efforts, he was not signed to an NBA team by the deadline.

Despite this setback, Snell's story has brought attention to the challenges faced by families dealing with autism, as well as shedding light on the workings of the NBA's retirement benefits. Even TNT's Charles Barkley has spoken out in support of Snell, urging a team to sign him for the remainder of the season.

While Snell's future in the NBA is uncertain, his story may lead to changes in the eligibility criteria for retirement benefits or create exceptions for players in similar situations. Regardless of the outcome, Snell's story has brought awareness to the costs associated with autism, and if it helps others get the care they need, then that is a valuable outcome.

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