Isaiah Austin's life hit an unexpected wall on June 21, 2014. Five days before he was projected to be selected in the 2014 NBA Draft, Austin was diagnosed with Marfan syndrome, a genetic disorder affecting the connective tissue. The arteries in his heart were abnormally large and Austin was forced to step away from basketball.
On Wednesday, Austin announced his return to basketball. Now 23, the 7-1 center has been cleared by doctors to take the court.
"Ever since the draft I've been getting checked by my doctor, and through those checkups, we've been monitoring my heart, making sure that nothing has changed, and he said that I am stable," Austin says.
"I am cleared. I am about to be out here pursuing my dream. Ever since my doctors told me that I was cleared, it's been in my mind -- I want to go chase this. It's always been my dream. At the same time, I'm a God-fearing man, and I believe that everything happens in life for a reason, so why would God put it in my doctor's heart to say that I was cleared if he didn't want me to go and chase my dream and share my testimony with millions of people around the world."
Austin announced the good news on both Instagram and an episode of the "Thru the Lens" documentary series with Cassy Athena.
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
NBA commissioner Adam Silver invited Austin to the 2014 draft even though he had no chance of getting drafted. Silver called Austin up between the 15th and 16th picks, and Austin put on a hat with an NBA logo. Silver offered Austin a job as long as he finished his degree at Baylor.
It is unclear if that NBA job will be on an NBA roster. Austin obviously has been out of the sport for more than two years and has a lot of ground to make up, assuming he can physically compete at the highest level. But with his height, perseverance and emotion, nothing is out of the question.