The Inspirational Shaun Livingston

Three-time NBA Champion Shaun Livingston retired today, ending an inspirational 15-year career in the NBA. Livingston is probably best known for his stint on the Golden State Warriors title teams … or his devastating injury while he was on the LA Clippers. Livingston came into the NBA straight from Peoria Central High School in 2004, when he was drafted 4th overall in the 2004 NBA Draft by the L.A. Clippers. Livingston was a 6’7″ point guard (with a dope afro) and because he was tall, he was compared to Magic Johnson (just like all tall point guards). Livingston was the McDonald’s All-American boys game Co-MVP in March 2004, which led to him being drafted in the top-5 in the draft a few months later.

After 15 years in the NBA, I’m excited, sad, fortunate and grateful all in one breath. Hard to put into a caption all of the emotions it takes to try and accomplish your dreams.

Shaun Livingston

In his first three NBA seasons, he averaged 7.4 points and 4.8 assists in 27 minutes per game, showing flashes of brilliance while showcasing his athleticism and creativity. In 2006/07, Livingston was on the verge of breaking through; he was averaging career-highs in points (9.7), assists (5.1), and minutes (29.8). Then on February 27, 2007 … everything changed. The Clippers were in Los Angeles playing the Charlotte Bobcats and with 8:24 remaining in the 1st quarter, Livingston stole the ball around the Clippers mid-court logo and took off towards the hoop. Livingston attempted a right-handed lay-up on the left-side of the hoop and as he was coming down, landed awkwardly on his left leg. Livingston’s leg buckled under the weight and his knee essentially exploded. Livingston tore his ACL, PCL, and his lateral meniscus, sprained his MCL, and dislocated his patella (knee-cap). Like I said, essentially exploded. The injury was so bad Livingston missed the entire 2007/08 NBA season and even worse, Livingston’s contract with the LA Clippers expired after 2008, so he was injured and unemployed.

During the 2008 off-season, Livingston got the “OK” to play basketball again and after a couple of suitors that did not work out, Livingston signed a two-year deal with the Miami Heat on October 3rd, making his NBA comeback official. Livingston’s tenure in Miami was short-lived however; after only playing in four games, the Heat traded Livingston to the Grizzlies for cash … who waived Livingston the day they acquired him. A free agent yet again. From 2009 to 2013, Livingston would play on six teams as he tried to find a new home in the league.

  • 03/07/09 – signed w/ the 66’ers (D-League)
  • 03/31/09 – signs multi-year deal with OKC
  • 12/22/09 – waived by OKC
  • 02/26/10 – signed a 10-day contract with WAS (signed for season)
  • 07/20/10 – signed 2-year/$7M contract with CHA
  • 07/23/11 – traded to MIL
  • 07/26/12 – traded to HOU (then waived)
  • 12/25/12 – claimed off waivers by CLE

After the 2013 NBA season, Livingston signed a deal with the Brooklyn Nets and he was able to prove he could play yet again. Livingston played in 76 games in 2013/14, starting in a career-high 54 of them, while averaging 26 minutes per game. Livingston’s play attracted the attention of the Golden State Warriors and on July 11, 2014, Livingston signed a three-year deal with the Warriors for $16M … and we all know what happened next. Livingston would be a vital piece of the bench for the Warriors, helping them win three NBA titles (2015, 2017 & 2018). Livingston’s time with the Warriors ended this past July when he was waived, and Livingston finally decided to hang it up today.

Livingston’s career is inspirational. He could have packed it in after his initial injury. He could have told his agent “no more” after being on six teams in three years. He could have said that he wanted to play point guard only, or that he wanted to start … but he didn’t. Livingston worked hard to get back to the elite level of play that is required in the NBA. Livingston turned his game from “athletic guard that can finish at the rim” to “back up guard that controls the pace”, and even added a MEAN mid-range game. Everyone should know the Shaun Livingston story. We all deal with adversity and challenges on the daily, and people like Shaun Livingston show us that we can overcome intense obstacles and get back to who we want to be.

Congratulations on a fantastic career. Cheers!

@rosenthalsports

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