Isaiah Austin learned last week that his NBA career was over before it started. He still was selected in Thursday night’s NBA draft, though.
Austin was diagnosed with Marfan Syndrome, a disorder that harms the connective tissue in the body. Austin, a projected mid- to late-first-round pick, was forced to retire from basketball because of the severity of the illness.
But Austin was drafted in the middle of the first round, thanks to a warm gesture by NBA commissioner Adam Silver. Between the 15th and 16th picks, Silver went to the podium at Barclays Center in Brooklyn and selected Austin with a ceremonial pick for the league. Austin donned an NBA draft camp and went on stage to pose for pictures with Silver.
“For Commissioner Silver to even invite me here was a tremendous blessing, and it just shows how much class that man has,” Austin said, via ESPN. “It’s really been a tough week for me, and it’s been really rough.”
Even though Austin won’t play in the NBA, he still hopes to be involved with the game. He already has been offered a coaching spot at Baylor and a position with the NBA after he graduates.
“I have a whole life ahead of me,” Austin said. “I’m not going to sit here and I’m not going to sulk about not being able to play basketball anymore, because I can still be involved with the game somehow or some way.”