After an eventful 15 seasons in the league, veteran guard Shaun Livingston called it a career on Friday when he announced his retirement from the NBA.
This did not come as a complete shock, but it did still take more than a few folks off guard considering how the 34-year-old appeared to still have some gas left in the tank.
We take a look back at Livingston’s basketball career and the inspiring journey he took from his humble beginnings all the way to winning three NBA titles as part of the now-defunct Golden State Warriors dynasty.
The Early Years
Livingston was born in Peoria, Illinois on September 11, 1985.
Even as a youngster, he already showed incredible potential, leading the Concordia Lutheran Grade School to back-to-back titles between 1999 and 2000.
After spending two years in Richwoods High School, Livingston would transfer to Peoria Central High School, where he once again lead his squad to back-to-back titles.
Livingston was one of the hottest prospects coming out of high school, and was deemed as a five-star recruit. Initially, he committed to playing for Duke, but would end up skipping college to enter himself to the 2004 NBA Draft.
Entering the Big Leagues
Livingston was selected fourth overall in 2004 by the Los Angeles Clippers, coming behind Dwight Howard, Emeka Okafor, and Ben Gordon, who were all selected No. 1 to 3, respectively.
Other noteworthy players from Livingston’s draft class include Luol Deng, Andre Iguodala, Al Jefferson, J.R. Smith, and Jameer Nelson, to name a few.
Livingston instantly made waves in his rookie campaign, establishing himself as an important piece in the Clippers lineup.
In his first three seasons with L.A., the 6-foot-7 combo guard would average 7.4 points, 3.1 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 0.9 steals, and 0.5 blocks in 27.2 minutes of action.
Livingston was not exactly lighting it up for the Clippers, but he had definitely established himself as a significant role player in the squad. At just 21, he had already proven his worth in the league, and was looking at a long and productive career ahead. Then, disaster struck.
In the middle of the 2006-07 season, Livingston would suffer an almost career-ending knee injury after falling awkwardly following a lay-up attempt. It was as bad as it gets in terms of knee injuries, with Livingston suffering an ACL and PCL tear, while also spraining his MCL, among others. It was a freak accident, and one that had doctors initially saying that he would need to get his leg amputated. It was so bad that at that point, there was even some doubt if Livingston would ever be able to walk again.
The injury could not have come at a worse time for Livingston, with his deal expiring that summer.
The Clippers opted against offering him an extension, which meant that he would become an unrestricted free agent.
Nevertheless, despite the odds being stacked heavily against him, not even the worst of knee injuries would keep a good man like Livingston down. He showed his resolve and determination throughout his rehab, eventually being able to secure a deal with the Miami Heat in the summer preceding the 2008-09 season.
It wasn’t going to be an easy road ahead for Livingston, though, as he would struggle to re-establish himself in the league following a career-altering injury. Over the next five seasons, he would bounce around the league, playing for no less than six NBA teams. This included stints with the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Washington Wizards, the Charlotte Hornets, the Milwaukee Bucks, and the Cleveland Cavaliers. At that point, Livingston was the very definition of an NBA journeyman.
In the summer of 2013, Livingston would sign for the Brooklyn Nets, where he would have arguably the best season of his post-injury career. Through his consistent play, Livingston would force himself to the starting lineup, and would end up averaging 26.0 minutes per contest in 76 games played that season.
This pretty much marked his official return to relevance in the league, and would serve as the stepping stone to the glory years of his career.
The Golden Years
After an impressive season in Brooklyn, Livingston would draw the attention of several teams, but he would end up putting pen to paper on a lucrative four-year $16 million deal with the Golden State Warriors. He once again established himself as an pivotal piece in the Dubs’ star-studded lineup, and was one of the unsung heroes in Golden State’s thee championships in five years. So much so, that the Warriors front office rewarded him with a three-year, $24 million extension in 2017.
It all came crashing down for the Warriors by the end of the 2018-19 season, though, and following a highly disappointing season, Livingston would end up as one of the victims of the team’s revamp. Golden State decided to waive Livingston this summer, allowing him to enter free agency.
As it turns out, this was the end of the line for the experienced vet, as he decided to hang his kicks following what has been a truly amazing career.