Written By: ,
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Date: June 2015
Duration: 4 hours 56 minutes
Born in 1993 in Fresno, California, Austin faced adversity even as a young child when he tore the retina in his eye. After four surgeries, Austin had to accept the fact he needed a prosthetic right eye. Isaiah's mom, Lisa Green says, "There are two choices in life: you make it your excuse or you make it your story." Isaiah went on to make a name for himself on the basketball court. Nobody thought he could play college ball without the sight in one of his eyes, but he didn't let adversity keep him down. He has a strong faith and a strong family and believes anything is possible.
In his freshman season at Baylor, the 7-foot-1 Austin was named to the 2013 All-Big 12 third team and the Big 12 All-Rookie team and played in the NIT championship game in which Baylor defeated Iowa. In his sophomore season, he was named to the 2014 Big 12 All-Defensive team.
On June 21, 2014, just five days before the NBA Draft, Austin learned that he had been diagnosed with Marfan Syndrome, a genetic disorder that affects the body's connective tissue. Austin could no longer play basketball at a competitive level since there was too much risk of his heart rupturing. Isaiah's dream of being drafted now seemed impossible.
After hearing about Isaiah's diagnosis, NBA commissioner Adam Silver invited Austin to attend the 2014 draft as his personal guest. The League recognized Isaiah's courage, resilience, and determination in a bitter sweet moment when Isaiah was made as an Honorary Draft Pick.
Since then, Austin has become a spokesman for The Marfan Foundation and has brought great awareness for the understanding of the disease and includes to act as an important partner with the organization. He also founded his own non-profit organization, The Isaiah Austin Foundation, to provide support and research for Marfan syndrome and those affected by it, which raised money by selling t-shirts with Austin's slogan ""Dream On."" Despite facing adversity when life takes an unexpected turn, Isaiah's story hopes to inspire others to tower in the face of adversity and keep living out your dreams.
The book will include a foreword from one of Isaiah's celebrity connections and Baylor University, where Austin is on staff, will continue to help support Austin's mission.
Chapter Outline for Dream Again
Since he was five years old, locking himself in the bathroom to practice dribbling on the tile floor, Austin has held onto a vision of walking across the stage on NBA draft night. Isaiah wakes on Saturday morning to go work out in Dallas with only one thing on his mind: preparing for his next NBA tryout with the Chicago Bulls. Isaiah spends the day with his mentor, Coach Ray, and then drives to his ""Aunt"" Evelyn's house that evening. When he arrives to a driveway full of cars, he knows there is something out of place. One look at his mother's tears and he understands he has been blindsided by a diagnosis he never imagined could be true. He has Marfans Syndrome and his lifelong dreams are over. How can he ever learn to dream again?
2. Family Forever
Facing the absence of his biological father, several cross-country moves, being abnormally tall and thin for his age, and dealing with a painful baseball accident taught Isaiah the importance of relying on his family. Isaiah talks briefly about his ""family forever"" tattoo and how his early childhood taught him to value family. Isaiah's biological father was not involved in his life. Finally, in the city championship game of his 8th grade basketball season, Isaiah dunks in warm-ups and when he hits the floor realizes something is very wrong: the vision in his right eye has gone completely red.
3. Your Excuse or Your Story
Isaiah must learn to trust in God, even when the adversity seems overwhelming, as he is faced with the prospect of losing sight in his right eye. The family is in crisis as Isaiah's mom flies back to Miami and they rush Isaiah into surgery to repair his detached retina (a result of his prior baseball injury as a child in California).
4. By Faith, Not By Sight
Isaiah makes the decision that he cannot bear to undergo more eye surgeries, but as he loses hope in regaining his vision he also draws closer to God for strength. Isaiah tells his family that he cannot endure another surgery and they make the difficult decision to accept his blindness. Isaiah overcomes his blindness on the court with hard work and hundreds of extra hours of shooting and dribbling. He begins to ""own"" his disability and solidifies his mother's message to ""make it his story"" by getting a tattoo ""by faith not by sight."" Isaiah decides to make an early commitment to Baylor University because of his family and his faith.
5. One and Done
Austin describes his time on campus at Baylor as he adjusts to living as an adult college student and teammate.
6. Chapter 41
During the breaking point in the Baylor basketball season, Coach Mac shares a story of his friend's battle with cancer and compares it to Genesis 41 and the story of Joseph. The team rallies around ""Chapter 41"" and it becomes their theme. Austin decides to come out to the media about his blindness and tells his story in a January ESPN ""Gameday"" special. Letters and emails come pouring in and Isaiah realizes how much power he has to inspire others and begins to understand his responsibility as a role model. The Baylor Bears come together and make a historic run. After the season, Isaiah makes the difficult decision to leave the Baylor family and pursue his lifelong dream of walking across the stage as an NBA draft pick.
7. At the Edge of the Dream
Isaiah is overcome with excitement, just days away from realizing his dreams and becoming the first player with a disability ever drafted in the first round of the NBA. Isaiah then begins to explain what was happening behind the scenes that fateful Saturday in Texas.
8. The Next Play
In the darkest moment of his life, in the face of losing everything he has ever worked for, Isaiah must decide what his faith in God really means. He receives the phone call from the NBA doctor who confirms what everyone in the room already knows: this diagnosis effectively ends his basketball career. In that devastating moment, the Baylor coaches, Isaiah's family, his closest friends gather around him and pray as the Holy Spirit enters the room as Coach Pops begins to speak words of life into the situation. ""Dear Father,"" he prays, ""Give Isaiah the strength to dream again."" As God moves in the room, he begins to understand that he has been prepared to deal with this his entire life. He listens to Coach Pops words about dreaming again and God speaks directly to his heart.
9. God's Plan
Isaiah begins to understand the reality that the doctor's diagnosis is actually God's grace and may have saved his life. He is contacted by the NBA and asked to attend draft night, but has no idea why. After the toughest five days of his life, he arrives in New York to attend the NBA draft. Just a half hour into the evening, NBA commissioner Adam Silver calls out the very words Isaiah has dreamed of hearing since he was five years old, ""with the next pick in the draft, the NBA selects Isaiah Austin."" Isaiah walks to the stage, fighting back emotion as he realizes that God has actually been faithful and delivered his lifelong dream even in the face of tragic circumstances. He is thrust into the national spotlight. Isaiah begins to embrace the spotlight and use it to inspire others, realizing that God had been preparing him for this moment earlier in the year when he went public about his disability.
10. Dream Again
As the hype dies down from the draft, Isaiah must focus on the actual work, the reality of ""dreaming again."" He returns to Baylor on a full scholarship as a player coach and begins to learn more about his disease and what it will mean for him in the future. He explains the challenge of Marfans, how it impacts the lives of many, and the desperate need for research and funding. He explains what he is learning about life as a coach and normal student and begins travelling the country as a motivational speaker and working to raise money for Marfans research. Isaiah launches his Dream Again Foundation with the opportunity to build relationships with children across the country who have been diagnosed with Marfans. Isaiah realizes that the Bible doesn't promise that you will face circumstances in your life that you cannot handle, but it does promise that God will walk through those circumstances alongside you, teach you new ways to live and provide new opportunities for you to dream again.