“With the next pick of the 2014 NBA Draft, the NBA selects Isaiah Austin, out of Baylor University.”
With the crowd on its feet in applause, a tall figure, stricken with emotion, emerged from the shadows.
The singular most memorable moment of Thursday’s NBA Draft came not from a kid who was heading for a new life and destination but one whose hope, crushed by a nightmare scenario, was given a silver lining, if only for a minute. Baylor’s Isaiah Austin’s dream, to be selected in the draft, came true, but this wasn’t how anyone envisioned it.
Just five days ago, Austin, thought by most as a lock to hear his name called Thursday, was diagnosed with Marfan Syndrome. This disease causes the misfolding of fibrillin, a protein that is necessary to aid strength and flexibility. Essentially, it helps connect body cells and organs together. It is estimated that one in every three to five thousand people suffer from this disorder, and it occurs more often in those who stand tall physically.
The 7’1 Austin, who through this life-changing week has showed nothing but positivity and strength, shined in his post-selection interview. He told ESPN’s Jay Williams that he plans to tell his story to as many people as he can, stressing that any obstacle one faces in their life can be overcome. For Austin, it was the dream of playing professionally, something no one doubted until last weekend’s shocking news.
"I worked so hard to get to this point and unfortunately it was taken away, but when God closes one door, He opens another for you,” Austin told Williams. It was a touching moment. The NBA was certain to give at least some of his dream to him, and you can bet goosebumps were had at the Fafinski household. This draft was more than just about basketball--it was about cherishing every moment you have on this Earth. Austin proved just that.
Despite the diagnosis, perplexing to some and devastating to others, that shut down his basketball career and will no doubt change his life forever, Isaiah Austin stood tall Thursday, and not just because of that 7’1 frame.
(picture taken from ABC.com)