From Broken to Risen: The Career of Shaun Livingston
The NBA career of Shaun Livingston started in 2004 when he was drafted 4th overall out of Peoria Central high school by the Los Angeles Clippers. At the time, he was the number one point guard in the country and a McDonald’s All-American. He originally signed with Duke University, but he opted out to go straight to the draft.
The Career of Shaun Livingston
The Early Years
Livingston began his career as a decent bench player in his first two years, averaging 6.6 points, 3 rebounds, and 4.7 assists per game for the Los Angeles Clippers. Throughout the 2006-07 season, he started receiving more minutes, which led to him putting up more shots while maintaining efficiency. His early-career improvements were promising, but his season would be shortened in a very gruesome way.
On February 26, 2007, against the Charlotte Bobcats, Shaun Livingston stole the ball and went on a fast break towards the rim. When he landed after a layup attempt, his knee bowed underneath him. All of his body weight came down on his knee. This resulted in one of the most gruesome injuries in sports. The result of this injury was a torn ACL, PCL, lateral meniscus, a dislocated patella (kneecap) and tibia-femoral joint, and a badly sprained MCL. The injury was so bad, doctors actually thought about amputating his leg. There were also concerns that he might never walk again, let alone play basketball.
After the injury, he missed the entire 2007-08 season. The Clippers didn’t extend a qualifying offer to Livingston, thus making him an unrestricted free agent. During the next six years of Livingston’s career, he went to eight teams, including a stint in the NBA D-League. It wasn’t until the 2013-14 season with the Brooklyn Nets where he would get his big break. During that year, Brook Lopez suffered a season-ending injury and Livingston played well enough to earn the starting role. He averaged 8.3 points, 3.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 1.2 steals per game while starting a career-high 54 games.
A Part of Greatness
After his break in Brooklyn, he went to sign with the Golden State Warriors on a three-year deal. During his time in Golden State, he became a pivotal sixth-man behind Stephen Curry. He became a key piece to one of the greatest dynasties in NBA History in his newfound role. The Warriors went on to play in five straight NBA finals and win three NBA Championships. Along the way, they beat the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls regular-season wins record with a 73-win campaign in the 2015-16 NBA season.
The Meaning of the Story
On September 13, 2019, Livingston announced his retirement from basketball, and it concluded one of the most inspiring NBA careers that we all have seen. He said “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.” From almost getting his leg amputated and learning to walk again to being part of a dynasty, Shaun Livingston’s story is something to behold. He proved that even when you’re at your lowest point you don’t quit, you don’t give up, and you never get defeated by whatever happens in your life.
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