NBA drafts Isaiah Austin into league despite tragic retirement

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Isaiah Austin was drafted into the NBA last night despite having been forced to retire from playing basketball just days before the big night.

On the same night as his fellow draft classmates were discovering with which franchise they would begin their journey into the pro league, Austin was recognized in a classy symbolic gesture by NBA commissioner Adam Silver.

Heartbreaking news

Austin had been expecting to be selected either late in the first round, or as part of the second round at the 2014 NBA draft after impressing during his time at Baylor. But with just days to go before the big day, Austin was informed that he suffers from Marfan Syndrome - a rare genetic disease that effects the aorta.

Immediate retirement was the only option for the young prospect. And with that came the end of his dreams to enter the NBA.

- Austin forced to retire days before NBA Draft
Kobe Bryant welcomes draft pick to Lakers

Symbolic gesture

But Silver, who has made an impressive and popular start to life as NBA commissioner, made time during events at the Barclays Center to pay special tribute to Austin.

With the Atlanta Hawks having just selected former Michigan State power forward Adreian Payne with the 15th overall pick, and Chicago Bulls on the clock mid way through the first round Thursday evening Silver took to the stage to make an announcement:

The entire arena rose to their feat to pay tribute to Austin and the former Bears center was blown away by the support he has received since the tragic news broke:

"God has really blessed me," Austin told reporters after he had left the stage.

"He could've allowed me to keep playing, but instead he saved my life."

NBA stars react

The move by the NBA went down particularly well with some of its established stars.

Current league MVP, Kevin Durant, was blown away by the gesture, telling his Twitter followers:

"Adam Silver is such a classy man! That's love right there. I'm emotional for him. Damn I love that," as he watched proceedings unfold.

And his former Oklahoma City Thunder teammate James Harden was equally impressed:

"S/O @IsaiahAustin for an unbelievable story. Adam Silver did something special tonight. The @NBA is amazing!" wrote Harden

Bright Future

The way Austin has dealt with adversity throughout his life is admirable.

Earlier this year he revealed that he plays with a prosthetic eye having detached a retina during his high school career, and now following the most recent knock back, Austin has vowed to make the most of his situation.

Baylor have already invited him back to finish his education and help coach the Bears, whilst this latest gesture from the NBA shows that the league is willing to help where it can.

NBA Draft
Chicago Bulls
LA Lakers

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