BROOKLYN, N.Y. – Former Baylor center Isaiah Austin was honored by the NBA Thursday night as part of the league’s draft ceremonies.
The 7-1 Austin learned Saturday that his competitive basketball career is over after he was diagnosed with Marfan syndrome, a genetic disorder that affects the body’s connective tissue, and can be life threatening.
Midway through the first round of the draft, NBA commissioner Adam Silver addressed the crowd at the Barclays Center, “We want to take a moment to recognize Baylor center Isaiah Austin. You may have heard about him – he’s one of the best collegiate players in the country and was expected to be picked tonight.
“We wanted to make sure he fulfilled at least part of his dream. With the next pick, the NBA selects Isaiah Austin from Baylor University.”
Austin stepped on stage at the Barclays Center and shook hands with Silver. Afterwards, Austin did a brief interview with ESPN, expressing how grateful he was to be invited to the draft.
“It’s one of the biggest blessings of my life,” Austin said. “I worked so hard to get to this point, but unfortunately it was taken away. When God closes one door, he opens another.
“It has been one of the toughest weeks of my life, but I have a great support system behind me,” Austin said. “I’m going to dream again and share my story with as many people as I can.”
Austin has been working with the Marfan Foundation since arriving for the draft in New York in an effort to raise awareness about Marfan syndrome.