Isaiah Austin stood and waved when his name was called in Thursday’s 2014 NBA Draft.
He kissed and hugged his supporters.
He slipped on a cap. But unlike the other players recognized, Austin, 20, wore a hat featuring the NBA’s logo, not a team emblem.
Days earlier, Austin, a 7-foot-1 sophomore center from Baylor, found out that he suffers from Marfan syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that affects the body's connective tissue.
He likely would have been selected Thursday. Instead, he was forced to retire.
But that didn’t stop NBA Commissioner Adam Silver from calling Austin’s name between the 15th and 16th picks.
“Like the other young men here tonight, Isaiah committed himself to endless hard work and dedication to a potential career as a professional basketball player,” Silver said, “and we wanted to make sure he fulfilled at least this part of his dream.
“So it gives me great pleasure to say, that with the next pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, the NBA selects Isaiah Austin from Baylor University.”
As he was introduced for the ceremonial first-round pick, Austin stood at the foot of the Barclays Center stage in Brooklyn, N.Y., holding back the tears. He wiped his eyes as he climbed the steps.
Austin embraced the commissioner, and they posed for photos, just as the other players selected before him.
Austin had the biggest smile of the night.
Austin later called the week the toughest of his life, but one that has left him feeling blessed.
“I’m going to dream again. I’m going go around and share my story with as many people as I can. I’m just hoping to touch people’s lives and let them know that any obstacle that they’re facing, they can get through it,” he told ESPN.
“All they have to do is keep a positive mind and thank God for every moment that they’re on this earth.”
Austin, 20, has faced adversity before. In middle school, he suffered a torn retina that caused a loss of vision in his right eye.
“He had four surgeries,” his mother, Lisa Green, told ABC News’ Robin Roberts in a segment that aired on “Good Morning America” today. “So after each surgery, he got his sight back a little bit.”
When the surgeries didn’t fix the problem, the family grew to accept the situation.
“There’s two choices in life. You either make it your excuse or you make it your story,” Green said.
His story took an unexpected turn with his shocking medical diagnosis. Green found out about the diagnosis when the doctor called to discuss her son’s blood work. She couldn’t hide her feelings when her son returned home.
“I just remember walking into the house late,” Austin recalls. “My coaching staff was there, my family, my pastor, and you know, just close family friends. And as soon as I walked through the door, she was the first face that I saw. And it was tears running down her eyes. I knew something was up.”
Austin was devastated by the diagnosis. He had worked so hard to reach the NBA. But he has new goals, new objectives now. He created a “Dream Again” T-shirt to encourage people to fight for their dreams regardless of their circumstances. na be bumps in the road … Thank God for every day. It’s a blessing to be in this world.”