When NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced his decision regarding the former Clipper owner, Donald Sterling, we witnessed not only the passing of the torch, so to speak, but we understood that the NBA will now be run with a heavy hand. What we witnessed from Silver on draft night was a heavy heart of compassion.
Isaiah Austin, the 7-foot-1 center out of Baylor projected to be a late-first pick, learned just 4 days before he was to be drafted that he would never play professional basketball. During his physicals, the doctors found that Austin has a disease called Marfan syndrome.
Basically, his body doesn’t make its connective tissue correctly thus pressure on his lungs, his heart, blood vessels, nervous system can all be a risk during different levels of exertion which could be fatal.
Back to Silver and draft night.
In the middle of the NBA Draft, Commissioner Adam Silver announced, “Before we continue tonight, I want to take a moment to recognize Baylor center Isaiah Austin,” Silver said, “ He was expected to be picked tonight before the discovery just a few days ago that he had a genetic disorder and is no longer able to play competitive basketball. Like the other young men here tonight, Isaiah committed himself through endless hard work and dedication to a potential career as a professional basketball player, and we wanted to make sure he fulfilled this part of his dream.
“So it gives me great pleasure to say,” Silver continued, “that with the next pick in the 2014 NBA draft, the NBA selects Isaiah Austin from Baylor University.”
A teary eyed Austin climbed the stairs, as he was supposed to do, and hugged Silver with all his might.
For all of the stereotypical adjectives people have used to describe the NBA, those words melted away, right there, right then.