Shaun Livingston is the perfect example of a player who faced a tragic injury but never gave up. Livingston could have walked away from the game of basketball when he suffered a leg injury early in his NBA career.
The 6-foot-7 guard continued to put in the work to get back to full strength, and it all paid off for him. He would go on to enjoy a successful basketball career.
Shaun Livingston’s path to the NBA
Livingston was a back-to-back state champion at Peoria Central High School in Illinois. During his senior year in 2004, he was named Illinois Mr. Basketball and played in the McDonald’s All-American Game. Livingston initially committed to Duke University but decided to go straight to the NBA after high school.
During the 2004 NBA draft, the Los Angeles Clippers selected Livingston with the fourth overall pick. What made Livingston stand out from other players was his height. At 6-7, he could play the point well and control the game. In his first season, Livingston saw limited action, only playing in 30 games. He averaged 7.4 points, 5.0 assists, and 3.0 rebounds per game.
The next season Livingston saw action in more games, but his numbers fell down a little. Livingston continued to adjust to the pace of the NBA game, and he would quickly improve. Coming straight from high school, you have to learn how to play against the best really quickly, and that’s something Livingston did.
Shaun Livingston’s tragic knee injury
In his third season, Livingston saw a lot of progress in his overall game. He started to have a better feel for the game and understand his role as a guard. During a game in February of 2007, Livingston’s career would take a turn for the worse. The Clippers were playing the Charlotte Bobcats, and Livingston went up for a layup. When he came down, he landed awkwardly and ended up dislocating his left kneecap. His left leg ended up snapping laterally, and he pretty much injured every part of his knee.
When the injury happened, there was a wave of silence across the arena as players, coaches, and fans were concerned about the health of Livingston. It was a severe injury to watch, and people were concerned if he would ever play football again. Livingston was told by a doctor that there was a possibility that his leg would have to be amputated.
Just like that, Livingston was in a situation where he had to learn to walk again. He went from fulfilling his dream of playing in the NBA, to worrying about if he was ever going to step on the court again. But one thing that Livingston did not do was give up. Through months of extensive rehab, Livingston was able to get back to full form. He missed an entire NBA season, but when he returned, he was on a mission to play at a high-level.
Shaun Livingston became a winner
When Livingston returned to the NBA, he had to ease his way back to where he was before the injury. People across the NBA were glad to see his return, and Livingston wanted to continue to keep getting better.
During the 2014-15 season, he joined the Golden State Warriors. That season he played in 78 regular season games averaging 5.9 points and 3.3 assists per game. The Warriors were one of the best teams in the league that year, and Livingston played a key role coming off the bench. The Warriors would go one to win the 2015 NBA finals, and Livingston won his first-ever championship.
He would go on to win two more finals with the Warriors and continued to have value on the team. When Livingston first suffered his injury early in his career, no one knew if he would ever be the same. After recovering from his injury, he played fearlessly and was determined to be a winner. Livingston played his last season in 2019, and his story is an inspiration to a lot of people.