We here at the Turban usually take that snideful sarcastic view when it comes to athletic supporting. I even had a story all ready to toss verbal grenades at this years NBA draft. Then something actually touching happened that made even this cynical curmudgeon tear up a little.
The NBA draft was filled with surprises Thursday night – funny looking suits, bow ties, and trades galore. But there was one memorable moment that was an NBA first – a player was drafted that will never set foot on the NBA’s hardwood.
Isaiah Austin of Baylor University would have been one of the players chosen in last nights draft, but he will never get the opportunity to play. You see, earlier in the week Austin was told he would never play organized basketball again. Austin has been diagnosed with Marfan Syndrome, a connective-tissue disorder that went unrecognized all Austin’s life and very well could have killed him.
In what was the most touching moment of the night, commissioner Adam Silver and the NBA acknowledged Austin’s predicament by selecting him to the team NBA. It was just a classy classy move on the part of Adam Silver and Greg Shaheen. It was Shaheen, the longtime head of the NCAA Tournament, who quietly helped orchestrate the tribute over the past 72 hours. Silver personally called Austin earlier in the week to invite him and ensure he experienced the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Silver told CBSSports.com:
“We knew we wanted to do something that would allow his dream to come true. He’s a special young man. And it was very difficult for me to maintain my composure up there. It’s sad that something that was such a big part of his life has been taken away, but he’s making the best of a bad situation. That’s the best kind of outlook on life. We’re proud of Isaiah.”
If you’re human, your heart really goes out to this young man who had probably been dreaming of playing in the NBA since he was a boy. I know it did mine. Austin had already fought heavy odds just by playing college basketball in the first place having lost his right eye as a child.
Austin credits his poise and positive attitude to his faith and the support of his loved ones.
“To be blessed to play this game as long as I did, I’m just really thankful. God has truly blessed me, because he could have let me continue to play basketball, but instead he saved my life.”
No silly suits, no mega-trades and not a dry eye in the house. Classy move, NBA.
Contributing Writer: J. Gonzo