On Sunday former Baylor star Isaiah Austin’s NBA dreams came to a crashing halt when team doctors discovered that he suffered from an enlarged aorta in his heart a mere four days before he would have heard his name announced as a late first-round NBA-draft pick.
Austin was diagnosed with Marfan syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that affects the body’s connective tissue. He was told that playing basketball could put pressure on his aorta and cause his heart to explode.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver invited Austin and his family to attend the draft on Thursday as his special guest. What Austin didn’t know was that he was still going to get to share in the special moment of having his name called, even if he wouldn’t be playing for an NBA team.
“With the next pick in the 2014 NBA draft,” Silver said from the stage before the 16th pick of the first round, “the NBA selects Isaiah Austin from Baylor University.”
Austin wept openly as he walked to the stage. The entire Barclays Center stood and applauded as Austin took the stage and hugged Silver.
“We knew we wanted to do something that would allow his dream to come true. He’s a special young man,” Silver told CBSSports.com. “And it was very difficult for me to maintain my composure up there. It’s sad that something that was such a big part of his life has been taken away, but he’s making the best of a bad situation. That’s the best kind of outlook on life. We’re proud of Isaiah.”
Austin left the stage and told the reporters, “God has really blessed me. He could’ve allowed me to keep playing, but instead he saved my life.”
He also handed out T-shirts with his new slogan, “Dream again.”
Read more at CBSSports.com.