This time last year, Baylor center Isaiah Austin was in the midst of a terrific sophomore season, one that would eventually lead to his inclusion on the Big 12’s All-Defensive Team. The 7-foot-1 center was listed as a likely lottery pick in the 2014 NBA draft, impressive placement considering the depth of what was thought to be one of the better draft classes in league history.
Just a week before the draft, however, Austin was diagnosed with Marfan syndrome, an inherited disease that affects the connective tissue. Citing worries about his health, and the strain on one’s heart when working at basketball speed with the disease, Austin retired from basketball. The NBA still invited him to the draft as a guest, and symbolically chose him in the middle of the first round, a move that left more than a few of us drying our eyes.
Nearly six months after his retirement, though, the minds behind NBA 2K15 have decided to give Austin fans a chance to live out his NBA dream. He’s been added to the free-agent pool in the game, available for any team to sign.
Players can add Austin onto their team as a free agent, as well as in the MyTEAM mode. He can also be seen on this week's episode of NBA2K TV. To appear in the game, Austin underwent facial scanning at the NBA 2K studios.
That is incredibly cool. And because defensive-minded 7-1 centers are rather hard to come by, gamers have been in heavy pursuit of the rookie:
— CSquard 2K15 (@CSquard11) December 17, 2014
Austin has been offered a job with the NBA, contingent on him finishing his final two years at Baylor. In the meantime, he’ll be allowed to do what so many other 21-year old collegians spend their evenings doing – playing as themselves on NBA 2K15.
The difference in this scenario is that Austin won’t have to create himself as a player. He’s earned his inclusion.
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