In a touching tribute to the Baylor center whose dream of playing in the NBA was tragically cut short before it began, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver made an honorary selection on behalf of the NBA and invited Isaiah Austin up on stage between the 15th and 16th picks in the 2014 NBA Draft. It was a brilliant moment led by a Commissioner who seems to be topping himself with every move he makes.
During a pre-draft physical and medical screening, Isaiah Austin was diagnosed with Marfan Syndrome, a genetic disorder that can cause a number of physical abnormalities. The primary risk is aortic dissection and other cardiovascular disorders, and the physical exertion of professional basketball would put Austin at high risk for fatal complications.
Thankfully the disorder was discovered now, preventing a potentially tragic incident, but the emotion that swept over Austin as he embraced Silver was clear, and the audience in Brooklyn’s Barclay’s Center gave him an emphatic round of applause.