If you are a casual sports fan or even a casual NBA, there likely isn’t a chance you have heard of Isaiah Austin. If you have, you know about the truly inspiring story of a man fighting for his dream and if you don’t, well read on and learn about the brilliant man and basketball player that is Isaiah Austin.
Isaiah Austin was born in 1993 and from a young age, knew he wanted to be a basketball player. He continued this love of the sport throughout school and in high school; his real talent came to fruition. In his senior year, he averaged 15 points, 11 rebounds and 5 blocks, which was good enough to earn him a spot in the prestigious McDonald’s All American Game in 2012 as well as a few other national tournaments. After solid showings at the tournaments, he was named as the number 3 recruit in the nation by ESPN.
He ultimately chose to go to Baylor University in Texas and had an immediate impact. As a freshman, he started all 35 games and played very well and even led the team to win the NIT Championship. He initially declared for the NBA draft in 2013 but decided to return to Baylor after a shoulder injury would have lowered his draft stock. After coming back, he had another successful season (especially on the defensive end of the ball) and was thought to be a sure-fire first round talent heading into the 2014 NBA Draft. Unfortunately for Austin, he was about to get a diagnosis that would change his life forever.
Only a few days before the NBA Draft, Austin learned that he was diagnosed with Marfan syndrome. This is a genetic disorder that affects the bodys connective tissue. He gave an extremely emotional interview (only days before he was going to be drafted) about how he could no longer play competitive basketball as the disease enlarged the arteries in his heart, which could cause his heart to potentially rupture if he played. After hearing this heartbreaking news, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver invited Austin to be his guest to attend the draft. And then in a tear-jerking move, Silver made Austin a ceremonial draft pick of the NBA, which helped to fulfill his lifelong dream of being drafted and the crowd greeted him with a standing ovation.
Silver also offered him a job if he finished his degree at Baylor and it was also revealed that he took out an insurance policy of over a million dollars while in college in case his career was halted by a disease, illness or injury. Since all of this haa taken place, Austin has been involved with various different NBA initiatives and has been a true inspiration to millions. He has also been instrumental in helping out the Baylor basketball program and in part to his inspiring the team; they were one of the best teams in the nation this year. He is also back finishing his degree and is helping a ton of people out with his foundation called the Isaiah Austin foundation and has also written about his story in a book called “Dream Again”.