Isaiah Austin, Baylor sophomore center with Marfan syndrome, has been selected by the NBA. The selection took place between the 15 and the 16 draft pick for NBA on Thursday night. Commissioner Adam Silver made the announcement that Austin has been selected by the associated for a special opportunity to fulfill the dream of every young basketball player.
Austin was just diagnosed with Marfan syndrome more than a week ago. This is a very rare genetic disorder that affects the heart. The diagnosis doused Austin’s hopes of having a professional playing career. If it was not for the physical exam before the draft, the illness would not have been discovered.
Austin shared, “For Commissioner Silver to even invite me here was a tremendous blessing and it just shows how much class that man has. It’s really been a tough week for me, and it’s been really rough. I’ve just had a tremendous amount of support from everybody around the world, telling me they’re praying for me and everything. I can’t thank everybody enough.”
The Barclays Center crowd gave Austin a standing ovation as he hugged his family while wearing a generic NBA cap. Despite his Marfan syndrome diagnosis, Austin was on the stage right alongside other 1 round draft picks. Austin went up the stage and posed with Silver, just like all the other picks did when their name got called.
During the season, Austin, with his 7-foot-1 height, told the press that he had a prosthetic right eye after undergoing multiple operations. The surgeries just could not repair his detached retina.
He is expected to be a high pick when he becomes healthier. He has also stated that he feels that he has “a great story to share.” Baylor coach, Scott Drew, has already offered him a position as a coach for the Bears.