Even if you’re not an NBA fan and had no idea the annual draft took place out of Brooklyn last night, something rather remarkable happened that most people will want to cheer about. But before I get to that, let me introduce you to a guy who won’t play a single day in the NBA – Isaiah Austin.
Isaiah Austin played college basketball for the Baylor Bears and was widely considered one of the highest-rated picks in 2014’s NBA Draft. Austin began getting noticed by scouts as early as high school where he averaged 15 PPG, 11 rebounds and 5 blocks. He would record an impressive line of 15 points, 9 rebounds, 5 blocks, 4 assists and 2 steals during the NIT championship game as Baylor went on to defeat Iowa.
By all accounts Isiah Austin was hurtling toward stardom. The 20-year-old, sensing big things were coming, was suddenly in the same conversation as top prospects in the upcoming draft. It was also impossible to ignore his height –Austin is listed at 7’1”, a veritable skyscraper even by basketball standards.
On June 21st Austin would receive what many can only speculate as the most crushing news of his young life – the budding athlete was diagnosed with Marfan syndrome by medical examiners, a genetic disorder that affects the body’s connective tissue. The rigorous physical demands of living a life as a professional athlete threatened to rupture his heart, a scenario the NBA would never roll the dice on. That diagnosis would effectively end Isaiah Austin’s NBA career before it could ever began.
In a classy move, newly-minted NBA commissioner Adam Silver would extend an honorary invite to Isaiah and his family on draft night. Only weeks earlier Silver lauded for handing down extreme sanctions against troubled Clippers owner Donald Sterling.
On June 26th, just between the 15th and 16th picks, something truly special happened. Check it out below …
Damn allergies …