Isaiah Austin Gets Second Chance at Playing in the NBA
In June of 2014, Isaiah Austin, a 7-foot-1 shot-blocker from Baylor, was preparing to fulfill his dream of being drafted into the NBA. But just four days before the draft, that dream was taken from him.
Pre-draft medical testing showed that Austin has Marfan syndrome, a genetic disorder that affects the connective tissues that hold together all of the body’s cells and organs.
Doctors feared that the level of exertion required to play professional basketball would cause Austin’s arteries to enlarge and perhaps even rupture. As a result, Austin’s career was over before it even started.
But in an interview this week, Austin revealed that he has been medically cleared to return to playing basketball. And he fully intends on making it to the NBA.
“Ever since the draft, I’ve been getting checked by my doctor, David Liang at Stanford, for about 2 1/2 years now,” Austin said. “And through those checkups, we’ve been monitoring my heart, making sure that nothing has changed, and he said that I’m stable. So, I’ve been able to work out a little bit here and there, and the first year and a half, he didn’t really wanted me doing too much because he still wanted to monitor my heart and everything.”
“But I would say about four months ago, I was in Minnesota, he cleared me, and labeled me stable. So I’m able to make the choice if I want to go back and pursue my dream again. I am cleared. I am about to be out here pursuing my dream.”
This is a great story, but also a cautious one. The fact that his own doctor cleared him is encouraging, but it’s not as if the disease magically disappeared. He still has it and it will affect him for the rest of his life. He’s stable now, but that might be because he hasn’t been playing basketball. Once he starts up again, who knows if and when the disease could kill him.
He will need to be cleared by NBA teams once he starts working out for them. But this is the first step in a long journey for Austin who has already endured adversity.
In the eighth grade, he suffered a retina tear and had to have four emergency surgeries. Despite losing vision in that eye, he continued playing until he was offered a scholarship at Baylor. He accepted and became a versatile big man capable of blocking shots and hitting outside jumpers. He was projected to be a late first-round selection.
Austin will certainly get some interest around the league. But it’s still going to be rough watching him play and think, “Don’t be another Reggie Lewis or Hank Gathers.”
It’s fantastic that there’s a sliver of hope that he can play in the NBA. But don’t do it at the expense of your long-term health. This is the very question facing NFL players around the league.
Man Steals Bucket of Gold Right off an Armored Car
I love heist movies. Show me a movie about a group of people planning an elaborate scam with masks and timers and assault rifles and I’ll show you a good time.
Unfortunately, real life isn’t as romantic. Case in point: This story out of New York.
A man stole an aluminum bucket full of gold flakes valued at $1.6 million from the back of an unattended truck in midtown Manhattan. The theft occurred on September 29, but surveillance footage was released this week.
An armored truck company was making a pickup and left the back of the truck open and unattended along a busy street. At that time, a Hispanic male strolled up to the back of the truck and grabbed the bucket of gold and walked off.
The two employees can be seen chatting away at the front of the truck without any idea about what’s going on. Perhaps the best part of the video is that the bucket weighed 86 pounds and the man appeared to struggle carrying it. They say New Yorkers mind their own business on the street and this proves that theory. How does no one notice a small Hispanic man carrying a large bucket of gold?
And guess what, he still hasn’t been caught. He got away with it. It’s like that scene in Ocean’s 11 when the crew is recalling failed robberies in Las Vegas. Each schmuck just grabs some cash and makes a break for it before getting either close-lined or straight-up shot.
This just happened to be the perfect window for this guy to successfully rob an armored car. That being said, how’s he gonna sell 86 pounds of gold without anyone noticing? If he shows up at his janitorial job driving a Porsche I’m going to be very disappointed.