Isaiah Austin and Team Heartfire come up short 83-79

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By: TBT Staff | @thetournament

Isaiah Austin’s basketball career almost ended. In 2014, he was diagnosed with Marfan syndrome, a genetic disorder that affects the body’s connective tissue. This heartbreaking news came right as he set his hopes on fulfilling his lifelong dream of becoming an NBA player after a successful year at Baylor University. Because of this diagnosis, he had to take two years away from basketball due to the abnormally large arteries in his heart.

Then NBA Commissioner Adam Silver stepped in and invited Austin to the draft as his guest. Between the 15th and 16th picks of the 2014 NBA draft, Silver made Austin a ceremonial pick, which fulfilled his dream of getting drafted. He received a standing ovation, as him and his family hugged and held back tears.

Austin was able to return to basketball in 2016 and started playing professionally overseas. He signed his first contract with a Serbian team but now plays for the Mets de Guaynabo of the Baloncesto Superior Nacional (BSN). He also played in The Basketball Tournament last year for Demarcus Cousins’s squad Loyalty is Love.

Despite his tumultuous career, Austin is a tremendous talent who is the catalyst for Team Heartfire. Standing at a lanky 7’1”, Austin is faced with the challenge of managing his health while also performing on the court. In addition, he is blind in his right eye. This doesn’t seem to stop him from impacting the game in many ways, however.

After being cooped up in the hotel for 5 days, Austin noted that, “it feels great to be back, we got to finally walk outside. That feels good in itself.”

Even though he matched up with the much bigger 7’3 Isaac Haas, this didn’t stop Austin from dominating the paint. When he is able to get to the middle, he almost always gets fouled or gets a bucket. This impressive skill set made Austin stand out. Clearly fans are aware of his talent, as he was the most popular player on FanDuel, with almost 50% of users selecting him for their team.

Despite the 83-79 loss, Austin contributed 17 points and 6 rebounds in 29 minutes. He didn’t shy away from some impressive dunks, either.

Austin also sported “B.L.M” on his headband. Regardless of his play, he just wanted to “bring a lot of positive vibes to the world right now.”

Despite heading home earlier than he wanted, Austin made the most of his only TBT game this year.

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