‘Basketball Never Defined Me’: Isaiah Austin’s NBA Dream Was Cut Short, But His Story Wasn’t

Managing Editor, Sports + DIME
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Millions of fans watching Isaiah Austin at the 2014 NBA Draft experienced a powerful and emotional moment. The Baylor star, who was diagnosed with Marfan syndrome during predraft testing (a rare genetic disorder that affects approximately 1 in 5,000 people), could no longer play the game or risk death despite being pegged as a potential first-rounder. And yet, Austin still was able to hear his name called, as commissioner Adam Silver made the ceremonial pick and selected him for the NBA.

A bunch of stories were written, tweets were sent out, the video hit Facebook. For many people, the end of Austin’s NBA dream was inspirational. For Isaiah Austin himself, the end of that dream was only the beginning of a new one.

UPROXX Sports checked back in with Austin, who has constantly been in motion since June 2014. He’s set to graduate from Baylor in May with a degree in marketing, he continues to raise awareness for Marfan syndrome through his foundation, he is currently working on a project to build a house in Waco along with Habitat For Humanity, he is an ambassador for NBA Cares, he wrote a book, and he’s the spokesman for the Haier Achievement Award, which recognizes athletes who perform community service, overcome adversity, or excel in the classroom.

For someone well into adulthood, that’s a lot. For a 22-year-old, that’s downright astounding. But Austin is no ordinary 22-year-old.

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