Isaiah Austin is getting a second chance at his first love.
More than two years after his professional basketball hopes were interrupted upon being diagnosed with Marfan’s Syndrome, the 7-foot-1 former Baylor standout said Wednesday in an instagram video that doctors cleared him four months ago to play basketball. Austin said he is working out with a goal of joining an NBA team.
Austin, the former Arlington Grace Prep and Mansfield Legacy player, and two-time Star-Telegram Super Team Player of the Year, had been projected as a first-round NBA draft pick after his sophomore season at Baylor. That dream ended when his diagnosis came out a week before the 2014 draft.
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Marfan Syndrome is a genetic disorder of the body’s connective tissues. It enlarged the arteries in Austin’s heart and left him at risk of his heart rupturing if he continued to play.
Austin did see his dream of being drafted come to fruition when Commissioner Adam Silver stopped the 2014 draft between the 15th and 16th selections to make Austin a ceremonial pick. Silver also pledged to help Austin get a job in the NBA, if he finished his degree at Baylor.
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said, “That’s good for him,” when told of Austin’s new situation.
Asked if the Mavs might be interested in the free-agent big man, Cuban was typically coy.
“We’ll always have interest in somebody who can play,” Cuban said.
Since the swerve in his career path, Austin has gone on to help others though a foundation that bears his name. Austin’s Dream Again Home project joined Habitat For Humanity to help build a home in Waco for a family who has had medical and financial hardship.
In middle school, Austin suffered a detached retina that required several surgeries and left him blind in his right eye.