Isaiah Austin’s NBA Career Is Over Before It Started
Isaiah Austin averaged 12.1 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.4 blocks over two seasons at Baylor. The 7-1 center at one time was considered a sure-fire Lottery pick in the NBA Draft. His stock rocketed up and down Draft boards over the past 12 months, as the Arlington, TX native showed flashes of greatness but lacked consistency and the physical strength NBA teams look for at the top of the Draft.
In January, he revealed to the world something that his teammates and coaches already knew—that in middle school, he suffered a torn retina, causing the loss of all vision in his right eye. It was an incredible fact, given the way Austin had played throughout his high school and college career. With one functional eye.
Austin was still considered by all accounts to be a second-round Draft pick, despite his vision issues. He was scheduled to be in the New York area for Thursday night’s Draft. He was, if all went according to plan, going to be the first partially blind person to play in an NBA game.
Then, he got the news.
This weekend, doctors informed his mother, who then informed Isaiah, that the results of a blood test he’d taken weeks before had come back. He was diagnosed with Marfan syndrome, a rare medical condition that will end his competitive basketball playing days. Forever.
For a young athlete who has already been through so much, it’s an almost unfathomable fate.
"Our hope is that he’ll return to Baylor to complete his degree and serve as a coach in our program," Baylor head basketball coach Scott Drew said via a press release Sunday.
You can watch Austin’s gut-wrenching interview with ESPN below, which ran on SportsCenter yesterday. Be prepared to get choked up. And whatever Austin chooses to do from here, we wish him the best.