NBA Cares LogoWhen it comes to sports stars at the top of their game, it is all too easy to think about the over-priced players behaving terribly and setting a bad example. The summer of 2014 may finally be the summer that America starts to fall in love with soccer but there will be plenty of potential fans turning away from the game due to the ludicrous biting incident involving Luis Suarez. This is the third time in his professional career that Suarez has bitten an opponent and it leaves a bad taste in the mouth of sports fans everywhere.

Basketball has had its fair share of characters and bad boys in recent years as well. With so many young fans adoring the game and looking up to players, it is easy to see why there is consternation when stories of drunken behaviour or questionable activities break out. It is fair to say that parents should look to be a role model before they allow sports stars to be the heroes of their kids, but children will always look up to their favourite players in their favourite team.

This is why it is great to see a couple of good news stories emanating from the 2014 NBA Draft. Yes, some youngsters are being catapulted into a world of fame and money but amongst the stories of players having their dreams come true, there were two stories that would have caused many hearts to soar.

Isaiah Austin received support

Isaiah AustinFirst of all, the NBA Draft process had been a horrendous process for Isaiah Austin. The player managed to battle back from an injury which left him blind in one eye and he was all set to be the first NBA player to have this form of ailment. Unfortunately, testing in the run-up to the draft uncovered a genetic defect (Marfan syndrome) which means that Austin’s career is over. The player was informed that his former college Baylor would provide a role for him but at the Drafts, it was announced that the NBA selected Isaiah Austin.

Clearly the pain of missing out on a lifetime’s ambition when you were on the verge of sealing it is tough but knowing that the biggest basketball league in the world wants Isaiah to work for them in some role is very touching. It was a special moment at the event and it showed that there is room for a caring side in modern basketball.

A special message to a missed fan

Adreian Payne and (Late) Lacey HolsworthAnother very special moment came thanks to Adreian Payne. Payne was the 15th pick at the 2014 NBA Draft and he was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks. However, the player took the time to dedicate the moment to Lacey Holsworth, a young basketball fan he got to know last season. Lacey was a fan of Michigan State who was battling cancer and Payne struck up a friendship with many basketball fans around the country being treated to the great sight of the player welcoming Lacey onto the court. Sadly, Lacey passed away not long after the conclusion of the NCAA tournament but Areian made sure she wasn’t forgotten.

Lacey’s mum was a guest of Payne’s party at the event and when he was announced, he unbuttoned his jacket to show Lacey’s name stitched into the lining. It may have been a small gesture but it was one that had a massive impact and would have made many people appreciate their loved ones and the gesture itself.

It can be easy to think that modern sport is all about money and greed so it is good to get reminders that there is a lot of positivity in basketball from time to time.