WHILE a stint with Gilas Pilipinas as possible naturalized player beckons for young Isiah Austin, the 7-foot-1 center admitted a stint in the NBA remains a dream for him.
Austin didn’t deny he’s still yearning to play in the league considered the best basketball league in the world especially in the aftermath of his aborted entry in the NBA three years after he was diagnosed with Marfan syndrome – a genetic disorder of the connective tissue.
“Yeah, who doesn’t,” said Austin when asked about it prior to leaving the country with Chooks To Go-Pilipinas for the FIBA Asia Champions Cup in Chenzou, China.
“Every basketball players’ dream is to make it to the NBA one day.”
Until he was told about his condition, Austin was considered a first round prospect out of Baylor College during the 2014 draft.
He was eventually invited by NBA commissioner Adam Silver as his guest during the draft proceedings, and in between the 15th and 16th pick, he was made a ceremonial pick by Adam to fulfill his dream of getting drafted.
Two years later, Austin would be medically cleared to play again.
Despite playing overseas in Serbia, China, and now the Philippines, Austin said the NBA is in the horizon as far as his playing career is concerned.
“When the time comes, I can tell you that I’d be ready for it,” he stressed.
Austin sees retired NBA great Kevin Garnett in himself, noting both of them are competitive and likes to win.
“My whole life, Kevin Garnett has been my favorite player, just because I have the same passion as he has, the same attitude in the court,” he said.
“I tried to dunk on everything, try to block every shot, try to get every rebound, try to be a monster or a beast as Kevin Garnett would be.”
And as he chases his NBA dream, the Gilas program wouldn’t be left behind as he vows to play his best for the Philippines.
“Until that time comes, I will enjoy my time here in the Philippines and have a good time playing for the country,” added the young big man.