SBD/June 27, 2014/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Adam Silver Honoring Isaiah Austin Becomes Most Memorable Moment Of NBA Draft

Austin (r) was diagnosed with Marfan Syndrome, a connective-tissue disorder
Baylor C Isaiah Austin at Thursday's NBA Draft was the "best pick of the night and subject to one of the most memorable, sentimental draft events ever," according to Matt Norlander of CBSSPORTS.com. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver "drafted" Austin to the NBA's team after the Baylor product was diagnosed with Marfan Syndrome, a "connective-tissue disorder that went unrecognized all Austin's life and very well could have killed him." Austin, his family and high school coach, who were all in attendance at Barclays Center for the draft, "had no idea was coming." Baylor men's basketball coach Scott Drew said, "The way they did it was just total class. Anyone watching, if you didn't have a tear in your eye, man, I don't even know." It was former NCAA Senior VP/Basketball & Business Strategies Greg Shaheen who "quietly helped orchestrate the tribute in the past 72 hours." Silver "personally called Austin earlier in the week to invite him and ensure he experienced the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity." Silver said, "We knew we wanted to do something that would allow his dream to come true. He's a special young man. And it was very difficult for me to maintain my composure up there." Norlander notes Austin after being honored was treated like every other draftee, as he did a "post-handshake TV interview with ESPN," and then went "right to the radio interview." Austin said, "For commissioner Adam Silver to even invite me here was a tremendous blessing. It shows how much class that man has" (CBSSPORTS.com, 6/27).

A TOUCH OF CLASS: NBCSPORTS.com's Brett Pollakoff noted Silver inviting Austin to the draft "would have been enough of a classy gesture in and of itself." But the NBA "went over the top in the way it handled Austin's situation." It was "an extremely touching moment" (NBCSPORTS.com, 6/26). It was a "wonderful gesture by the NBA" and a "highlight of the draft" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 6/27). It was "a classy move by the NBA" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 6/27). It was "a sensational moment" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 6/26).

HIGH PRAISE FOR SILVER ON TWITTER: The NBA drafting Austin drew a lot of positive reactions on Twitter Thursday night, with many directed especially at Silver. Bulls radio announcer Chuck Swirsky wrote, "Best part of NBA draft night: Commissioner Adam Silver's tribute to Isaiah Austin. Pure class. NBA in great hands with Mr. Silver." ESPN’s Andy Katz: “Tremendous move by NBA commissioner Adam Silver and league to honor Isaiah Austin of Baylor. Great moment here. Standing O at Barclays.” The AP’s Tim Reynolds: “Adam Silver wins the Draft. … Chills. Absolute chills.” NBA.com’s Sekou Smith: “Nice work from the Commissioner recognizing Isaiah Austin. Adam Silver just keeps on winning." NBCSPORTS.com's Rob Dauster: “Great move here by Adam Silver and the NBA. Glad Isaiah Austin got his moment.” ESPN L.A.’s Dave McMenamin: “Straight class by Adam Silver and the NBA here with Isaiah Austin. Perfect moment.” ESPN Dallas' Calvin Watkins: “Adam Silver does a great thing for Isaiah Austin. Wonderful." The Hockey News’ Adam Proteau wrote, "In his short tenure as commissioner, Adam Silver has drummed Donald Sterling out of the NBA & welcomed Isaiah Austin into it. 2-for-2, Adam." Campus Insiders’ Bonnie Bernstein: "Between his poised approach to Sterling mess & this wonderful Isaiah Austin moment, Adam Silver's batting 1.000 as NBA Commissioner." The Washington Post’s Michael Lee: “Commish is on a roll since banishing Donald Sterling.” The move even drew compliments from several current NBA players. Rockets G James Harden wrote, “Adam Silver did something special tonight. The @NBA is amazing!” Thunder F Kevin Durant: “Adam silver is such a classy man! That's love right there. I'm emotional for him. Damn I love that.” Pistons F Charlie Villanueva: “Kudos to the NBA for letting him live his dream.”
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