Isaiah Austin presented with honorary Boston Celtics jersey and award at Boston's TD Garden

What Dreams Are Made Of: Four Minutes With Isaiah Austin

Get (more) familiar with former NBA prospect-turned-author, Isaiah Austin

Get (more) familiar with former NBA prospect-turned-author, Isaiah Austin

Isaiah Austin is a gentle giant. Hovering above seven feet, the former Baylor Bear is always armed with a smile and naturally optimistic phrases that are fitting of a life coach than an ex-college baller. While Marfan Syndrome (a genetic disorder) dashed his dreams of going pro in the NBA, Austin was named a 2014 draft honoree by league Commissioner Adam Silver, who praised his talents. "Like the other young men here tonight, Isaiah committed himself through endless hard work and dedication to a potential career as a professional basketball player, and we wanted to make sure he fulfilled at least this part of his dream."

These days, Austin has made inspiring others his reality, probably better than anyone who tried to fill his size 18 shoes. Founding his Isaiah Austin Foundation last year to support related disorders and other charitable causes, the 21-year-old is now an author, as well. At his recent book signing at New York's NBA Store (June 24), the Baylor University star sat down with VIBE to discuss his new page-turner Dream Again, his Draft Day anthem and how his struggle ultimately turned into success.

VIBE: I want to start with a quote from your book that really stuck with me. "Sometimes if you want to pursue your dream, you have to be willing to leave a good situation behind for the unknown." Speak on how that applies to your life
Isaiah Austin: Basketball has been my stepping stone my whole life. It's been something I've worked for my whole life and unfortunately, I've had to give it away because of a certain circumstance but it's been for the better. Basketball wasn't going to give me the opportunities I have now. I have opportunities to help inspire people all across the world [and] help them push through their own life problems, their struggles. I feel like if you give something up that's good, it's not always a bad thing. Me not being able to play basketball wasn't a bad thing; it's a blessing in disguise.

SEE ALSO: NBA Draft 2015 Preview: 5 Prospects To Know

A lot of people probably couldn't say the same. I feel like your optimism is a product of the people you surrounded with yourself, especially your family but what made you decide to pen your story into a book?
I wanted people to know the in-depth situation that I was really going through. A lot of people know that I had eye surgery and that I was playing blind in my eye but they didn't really know everything I've been through. After each eye surgery, I had to lay face down for four weeks at a time and then just getting hit with bad news after bad news, thinking my eye was healed then having to rush in for another emergency surgery. I wanted people to really go through my feelings, really try to experience it just so they know they're not alone when they're experiencing those feelings themselves, when they're fighting their own problems.

You also have a co-sign from Carmelo Anthony and your friend, Robert Griffin III, scribed the foreword but has there been anyone else—in or outside of the sports world—who commended you and took you by surprise?
[Trail Blazers'] Damian Lillard. He's really been on my side with all this. He sends me inspirational quotes and he'll text me that God gives His toughest battles to the strongest soldiers. He's been really supportive throughout this whole process but I couldn't thank him enough because to see how humbling a guy of that stature is, is a blessing.

Now let's say we took this book and turned it into a film. Who would you want to play Isaiah Austin?
Probably Will Smith.

You're also in NBA2K15. Do you actually play as yourself?
I have. I drafted myself to the Lakers so I can steal the ball from Kobe [Bryant] and put up more shots than him. [Laughs] That whole experience was amazing. Shout out to Ronnie 2K and those guys for making that happen.

This Thursday, the NBA Draft is going down at Barclays, marking a year since Adam Silver called your name as an honorary draftee. Which song would you consider your Draft Day anthem?
I have to say Fetty Wap "Zoo Wap."

SEE ALSO: Digital Cover: Fetty Wap ‘From My Trap To Yours’

Talk to me about your Isaiah Austin Foundation and why you decided to start that.
I started the foundation to just be able to share my story worldwide. I know that it's a great cause and a lot of people are supporting it. I want them to really know that what I'm doing is not for me, it's for the people around me. I've always been that type of person, never selfish or self-centered. I've always wanted to help inspire people. I feel like with my foundation, that's what we're striving to do: share my story, share my testimony but at the same time, bring the awareness to Marfan Syndrome 'cause that's what brought me to this stage in the first place.

Cop Isaiah Austin's Dream Again here and tune into the NBA Draft tonight (June 25) at 7pm ET on ESPN.

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Cam Newton Says Practicing Celibacy Has Made His Mind Stronger

It might be the offseason for Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, but that doesn't mean the game is over just yet. Part of his time off includes engaging in self-made challenges and this month, the athlete has decided not to get down in the bedroom.

The fashionable athlete shared the details behind his challenges on The Late Late Show with James Corden. The 29-year-old broke down his twist on New Year's resolutions with his latest challenge possibly taking the cake for being the hardest thus far.

"Every month I try to challenge myself in many, different ways," the Atlanta native started. He pledged to veganism for the month of February and dedicated the third month of the year to nothing less than chastity. "And then March, I hope this is an adult crowd — it looks like it is — no climax."

Newton's revelation was met by exclaims from the crowd and of course from Corden himself. "It's challenging," the father of three responded. "For me, doing certain things that challenge me in the off-season that I can't necessarily do, so now when the season comes along it makes my mind stronger; I feel like if I go back and I say "I did those things," I'm mentally stronger."

Newton subtly teased the notion of celibacy on his Instagram account earlier this month with a photo of a flower.

Some of his challenges have stuck around longer than a month, like his journey with veganism. We can only wonder what challenges April will bring.

Check out the full interview up top.

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Ex-Basketball Player, Cliff Dixon, Killed While Celebrating His Birthday

Cliff Dixon, former basketball player and Kevin Durant’s longtime friend, was fatally shot in an Atlanta strip mall Wednesday (March 20), while celebrating his 32nd birthday.

According to the Atlanta-Journal Constitution, Dixon had just arrived at SL Lounge when he was shot multiple times in the parking lot. He was transported to Grady Memorial Hospital where he died from his injuries. Police responded to the incident at around 1 a.m. The gunman fled the scene by foot and remains on the loose, Fox 5 reports.

Dixon turned 32 earlier in the week. His final post was promoting his birthday bash.


View this post on Instagram


We litty tonight @slloungeatl come catch the vibe

A post shared by Cliff Dixon (@cldtoon) on Mar 20, 2019 at 4:21pm PDT

A native of Maryland, Dixon attended Suitland High School where he first met Durant, whose mother ended up taking him in when he was 16 years old. After graduating high school, Dixon attended community college before transferring to Western Kentucky University where he played basketball for two seasons. In 2014, Dixon headed overseas to play ball in Austria.

Durant saw Dixon an “adopted brother. The NBA player's mother, Wanda Durant, extended “deepest condolences & prayers to Dixon’s mother, siblings, friends and loved ones, in a heartfelt statement on Twitter Thursday (March 21). “Our family was an extension of his & we shared wonderful memories. His transition is an incredible loss for all of us who loved him, he will be missed dearly.”

The Durant family extends our deepest condolences & prayers to Cliff’s mother, siblings, family & friends. Our family was an extension of his & we shared wonderful memories. His transition is an incredible loss for all of us who loved him, he will be missed dearly #CliffDixon RIP

— Wanda Durant (@MamaDurant) March 21, 2019

Dixon was most recently linked to reality star Erica Mena, but the pair split last year. Mena joined Meek Mill, Dave East, and a chorus of others in posting tributes to Dixon on social media.

Read the dedications below.


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Damn that’s fucked up @cldtoon rip! Y’all 2 guys showed me nothing but love since we met! #restwellprime I had some good nights with yall! 🤞🏾🤞🏾

A post shared by Meek Mill (@meekmill) on Mar 21, 2019 at 10:02am PDT


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I Can’t think of no memories with @easymoneysniper or @tdurant And u wasn’t there. We been cool since like 16-17 years old 🤦🏽‍♂️U was just in my session in Atlanta listening to my album this shit super wacc!!!! Rest in heavenly peace bro u ain’t deserve whatever happen to u all we talked about was ball bitches and gettin to it!!!! God bless you cuzo real shit 🙏🏽 @cldtoon @akbar__v hold ya head I know y’all was close ✊🏾

A post shared by Freaky Forever Mugga � FTD ENT (@daveeast) on Mar 21, 2019 at 3:29am PDT


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#EricaMena speaks on the passing of her ex, #CliffordDixon. We're sending our deepest condolences to his loved ones 🙏🏾

A post shared by The Shade Room (@theshaderoom) on Mar 21, 2019 at 1:09pm PDT

Better days.

Rest In Peace, Cliff Dixon. 🙏

— Timeless Sports (@timelesssports_) March 21, 2019

Rest In Peace to Cliff Dixon who was killed in Atlanta, GA early this morning celebrating his birthday 😔

— DC Maryland Virginia (@DMVFollowers) March 21, 2019

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Kobe Bryant Encourages LeBron James To "Keep Pushing" Despite Rocky Season

Following the Los Angeles Lakers' up-and-down season, former purple and gold player Kobe Bryant offered encouraging words to the team and its newcomer, LeBron James.

On an episode of ESPN's Get Up with Mike Greenberg, Bryant said the string of injuries plagued the West Coast franchise. "It's unfortunate because they got hit with so many injuries in rapid succession," he said. "When they were rolling they were playing very well, exceeding people's expectations. Then they got hit with all these injuries, kind of set them back, knocked them off of kilter a little bit. It's hard to reboot that."

"Seasons like this are what make the championships worth it.”

[email protected] on LeBron and the Lakers

— Get Up (@GetUpESPN) March 20, 2019

Greenberg then went on to ask if the 20-year vet has any advice to offer James, who joined the legendary franchise in 2018. "Oh, you just got to keep pushing," Bryant said honestly. "Seasons like this are what make the championships worth it."

Much like James' experience with the Lakers, Bryant missed the 2005 playoffs after losing to the Detroit Pistons in the Finals the year before. Injuries and fluctuating rosters caused them to lack focus. However, the Lakers did make their way back into the playoffs that following year.

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