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Shaun Livingston announces retirement from NBA

© Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports


The trajectory of Shaun Livingston’s career was far from what anyone expected when he was drafted by the Los Angeles Clippers with the fourth overall pick in the 2004 NBA Draft. He was drafted out of Peoria Central High School in Illinois as the second-ranked prospect in the country. The lanky 19-year-old had an unfathomably crafty skillset for his 6’7″ frame and was poised for stardom if all went according to plan. It didn’t.

In Livingston’s third season with the Clippers, when he was averaging 9.8 points, 5.1 assists, 3.4 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game, he suffered one of the most catastrophic knee injuries in NBA history, dislocating his left knee cap in horrific fashion.

Livingston’s knee was so badly injured that he was told by a doctor he may need to have his leg amputated. He tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), lateral meniscus and retinaculum, tore his medial collateral ligament (MCL), and dislocated his patella and his tibio-fibular joint.

The injury required 20 months of rehabilitation and years of re-working his game. Eventually, following stints with eight NBA teams, Livingston had a career renaissance at age 28 with the Brooklyn Nets. He had developed an extraordinarily effective midrange game, was a more than capable ball-handler and extraordinary distributor with a height advantage that made him an invaluable role player. After a season averaging 8.3 points, 3.2 assists, 3.2 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game, Livingston found his home in Golden State.

The Warriors offered Livingston a three-year, $16.63 million deal in 2014 and another three-year, $23.69 million deal in 2017. He and Andre Iguodala formed the veteran glue that defined the Warriors’ dynastic run of three championships over the last five years. He was waive-and-stretched this offseason with just $2 million in guaranteed money remaining on his final season to create cap space for a Warriors team that was in desperate need of it.

On Friday, Livingston announced his retirement, with the following message on Instagram:

“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. I wasn’t supposed to be here. Anybody that has beat the odds understands the mental and emotional strain it takes to inspire yourself on an uphill war, let alone inspire others. “The injury” gave me a chance to find and prove to myself (and the world) that I wouldn’t be defined by my circumstances. With my time in the League what I will be most proud of is the fact that my character, values and faith were tested, and I persevered.

To my pops that told me to “go get the big ball” I THANK YOU. To my Grandpa that always showed me there was more to life than basketball I THANK YOU. To my Uncles that helped raise me like I was one of their own, THANK YOU. To my wife and kids…the future IS BRIGHTER than our past, and I couldn’t see myself taking on this chapter without you. To all of my teammates, coaches, TRAINERS, staff, my journey is a collection of experiences, and those of you that helped me along the way, THANK YOU! To all the fans and anybody else that inspired me, supported me, cheered for me, or even said good words about me, THANK YOU. “The greatest gift we can give is service to others”

 

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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. I wasn’t supposed to be here. Anybody that has beat the odds understands the mental and emotional strain it takes to inspire yourself on an uphill war, let alone inspire others. “The injury” gave me a chance to find and prove to myself (and the world) that I wouldn’t be defined by my circumstances. With my time in the League what I will be most proud of is the fact that my character, values and faith were tested, and I persevered. To my pops that told me to “go get the big ball” I THANK YOU. To my Grandpa that always showed me there was more to life than basketball I THANK YOU. To my Uncles that helped raise me like I was one of their own, THANK YOU. To my wife and kids…the future IS BRIGHTER than our past, and I couldn’t see myself taking on this chapter without you. To all of my teammates, coaches, TRAINERS, staff, my journey is a collection of experiences, and those of you that helped me along the way, THANK YOU! To all the fans and anybody else that inspired me, supported me, cheered for me, or even said good words about me, THANK YOU. “The greatest gift we can give is service to others” #Raiseaglass 🍷

A post shared by Shaun Livingston (@sdot1414) on

 

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