Last night was the NBA draft. Congrats to all the players taken, especially Roy Devyn Marble of the Iowa Hawkeyes, whose on his way to Orlando. There is no doubt that these incredibly talented athletes will put up big numbers during their time in the NBA.
Professional sports drafts are about expectations, of what is to come. These athletes make the jump to the pros, some easier than others. However, last night a very cool thing happened: A player was drafted who will never play a minute, never score a point, in the NBA.
That player is Isaiah Austin. He played for Baylor University and from what I understand was/is a stellar player. He was picked to well, get picked in this year's NBA draft. Then he learned he had Marfan syndrome. Not heard of it? Neither had I. In a nutshell, it's bad, really bad.
Here's how deadspin.com describes Marfan syndrome: "...a disorder that affects connective tissue in the body. You can read more on it here,
but basically, if Austin's heart experienced the rigors of an NBA
season, he could die. He can no longer play basketball competitively."
I've never played competitive sports. Well, that's not exactly true. I did play Dad's Club softball in grade school and also got a minor letter in soccer by senior year. (I think mostly because I showed up to practice and did not bitch much about not getting much playing time.) But I think you get my point, I am not a jock. Also, I do not know what it is like to work as hard as Mr. Austin had, to be so close to making a dream a reality, and then be told, "Not gonna happen."
So I thought it was a class act when the NBA selected Mr. Austin as an NBA pick. He'll never play, of course, so the skeptics may call it a publicity stun or misplaced charity. I'll stand on my original comment- a class act.
You can go below to the links and watch NBA commissioner Adam Silver explain why the NBA picked him. It's worth the few minutes to do so. It may not restore your faith in humanity, but it (I hope) will put a smile on your face.
And by the way, there is a precedent for the NBA Draft selecting players who never see the court. In 1982, the Boston Celtics drafted Landon "Lu" Turner in in the 10th round. Mr. Turner had been paralyzed in a car accident and would never play. Bobby Knight, then the coach of Indiana University, played a not-so invisible hand in making that happen.
Just my two cents, but I think it is great what the NBA did last night. They rewarded hard work and gave a deserving athlete his moment in the sun. I do not know Isaiah Austin. I do not know what his post-basketball life will be for him. I hope it is one of joy, happiness and fulfillment. I hope that by being picked by the NBA he can obtain closure on his competitive playing days and find a new challenge, a new passion. I hope he can be a role model for others facing a new life due to illness or injuries. If he can do so, then he will have lived up to his potential as a draft pick. Who knows, he might turn out to be the best pick of this draft.
Be well my friends,