On June 21, 2014, Baylor University center Isaiah Austin was told he would never play basketball again. On Nov. 30, 2016, he’s returned to chase his dream.
Austin’s announcement came on an episode of Cassy Athena’s Thru The Lense series. The NBA drafted 7-foot-1 Isaiah Austin out of Baylor during the 2014 NBA Draft between picks 15 and 16, which led to a touching, tear-jerking moment for all who viewed.
Austin was a standout center for the Baylor Bears back in 2012, and he spent two seasons in the NCAA before being diagnosed with Marfan syndrome, a connective tissue disorder that’s passed down through genetics, ahead of the 2014 draft.
Typically, those afflicted are tall with long and sometimes disproportionate extremities. Before his diagnosis, Austin went blind in his right eye at 16 following multiple retina surgeries but still went on to graduate as the third-best basketball player in the country, according to ESPN. Once he got to Baylor, he immediately made an impact on the defensive end because of his height, length and shot-blocking ability.
He averaged 2.4 swats a night for his career, including 3.1 per game in 2014 which was good enough to lead the Big 12.
Now that he’s been cleared, it’s almost certain that some team will give Austin a chance to prove himself. Players with his physical attributes don’t come along often, and players with the mobility and athleticism that he has — combined with his physical — are even rarer.
Whether it’s that team is from the NBA, the D-League or overseas, we wish nothing but the best for Isaiah, and he’s been a true inspiration to everyone who’s been lucky enough to hear his story.
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