Adam Silver has only been NBA commissioner five months but he has already delivered two landmark moments.
First, Silver dropped the hammer on Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling by banishing him from the league after it was found that he made racist remarks.
Second, Silver and the NBA made an incredible touching gesture Thursday night by allowing Isaiah Austin to fulfill his dream of getting selected in the NBA draft.
Between the 15th and 16th picks, Silver announced that the NBA was selecting Austin.
Just over a week ago, the 7-1 sophomore center from Baylor was diagnosed with Marfan syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that affects the heart. It ended his playing career. The illness was discovered during a physical for the draft.
“For Commissioner Silver to even invite me here was a tremendous blessing and it just shows how much class that man has,” Austin told the Associated Press. “It’s really been a tough week for me, and it’s been really rough. I’ve just had a tremendous amount of support from everybody around the world, telling me they’re praying for me and everything. I can’t thank everybody enough.”
Austin added: “I have a whole life ahead of me. I’m not going to sit here and I’m not going to sulk about not being able to play basketball anymore, because I can still be involved with the game somehow or some way.”
When Austin’s name was called he hugged family members, put on a generic NBA cap, walked up to the stage and posed with Silver just as all the drafts picks did when their names were called.
“Just being around all the draftees and seeing my friends get drafted, it just brings joy in my heart because I know how hard we work to get to this point,” Austin said. “I’ve been through it. … Just to see how people persevere through their own problems, because everybody has their own problems. It’s touching and it’s heart-warming, really.”
Social media exploded when Austin was selected. All-Stars like Kevin Love and Kevin Durant were clearly moved.
Love posted on Twitter: “Happy Isaiah Austin was able to hear his name called at the NBA draft. Very cool to see.”
Durant said: “Adam silver is such a classy man! That’s love right there. I’m emotional for him. Damn I love that.”
It was one of the best moments you’ll ever see in sports. It was a great moment for Austin and a classy move by the NBA.