Isaiah Austin’s story just got a happier next chapter.
The 7’1” Austin was a dominant post player at Baylor, and was projected as a late-first or early-second round pick in the 2014 NBA draft, but a diagnosis of genetic disorder Marfan syndrome led to doctors saying he couldn’t play basketball any more. The NBA still chose him as an honorary selection (he’s seen above with NBA commissioner Adam Silver at that draft), and he was even incorporated into NBA 2K15, but few thought he’d ever have the chance to take the court in a high-stakes setting for real. That’s now changed, though, as Austin released an Instagram video Wednesday saying he’d been cleared by doctors to play again:
Very excited to announce to everyone that the news is true. I have been blessed by the grace of God to receive a second chance at chasing my dream of playing basketball. Everything happens for a reason and I’m ready to share my testimony and journey with millions of people across the world. #DreamAgain | full interview on cassyathena.com @cassyathena
That full interview Austin mentions is here, part of the Thru The Lens documentary series:
Austin also is blind in his right eye thanks to suffering a detached retina when he was 16, so he’s already overcome a lot. He averaged 12.1 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.4 blocks during two seasons at Baylor, and while his time off may have hurt his stock a bit, this is a guy who was considered to have serious NBA potential before his Marfan syndrome diagnosis. We’ll see if NBA teams give him a real chance, but he certainly seems like someone worth consideration now he’s been medically cleared. His story will certainly be interesting to follow; there aren’t many honorary draft picks who later turn out to have a real chance of making the pros.