Shaun Livingston Has Been Through It All... And Then Some.
Shaun Livingston was a bright, young, and athletic high school basketball player, destined for big thing's at the next level:
In 2004, his senior year of high school, Livingston signed a letter of intent to go play for Mike Krzyrzewski and the Duke Blue Devils. Livingston was talented, extremely talented. Put it this way, standing 6'7" as a point guard, his skill set at the time was very rare and attracted a lot of attention of NBA scout's across the nation. Even getting some minor comparion's of Ervin Magic Johnson, being that he was a tall, play making point guard. At this time, high school basketball player's could declare for the NBA Draft. Not too long after signing his letter of intent to play for Duke, he decided to hire an agent and declare for the NBA Draft where he would be a sure fire lottery pick. A high one at that, getting drafted 4th overall by the Los Angeles Clippers.
Upon being selected by the Clippers, Livingston struggled at the beginning of his professional career, failing to live up to the hype that surrounded him. Injuries certainly not helping his cause missing 101 of a possible 260 some odd games, even having to switch position's to play a little shooting guard as the Clippers acquired point guard Sam Cassell in a season in which was the franchise's best at the time.
In 2007 Livingston broke out a bit, averaging over 9 point's per game, even dishing out a career high 14 assists in a game against the Golden State Warriors. It wasn't until a February match up against the Charlotte Bobcats would change his career and life forever.
Driving to the hoop, Livingston was having a solid game at the time. He went up for a layup and landed awkwardly on his foot, instantaneously snapping his leg behind his body essentially severing every ligament, tissue, and anything that construct's a knee. An absolutely brutal injury, one in which is absolutely career ending no matter how you look at it.
Going through multiple surgeries, doctor's wondered and warned Livingston that there is a good possibility that not only is his career more then likely over, he may have to remove the leg itself because of the physical damage that had been done. When I say everything was ripped, torn, or broken, I mean it.
Doctor's and surgeon's alike were able to save his leg and reconstruct it together but still warned Livingston that his career was more then likely over but that he would have to go through lengthy rehabilitation stage's to gain full motion of the leg.
Boy did he ever. Talk about determination at it's finest...
He was able to fully rehabilitate his leg and his knew and was also able to give it one last try for the sake of his dream and his well being. He was determined to play basketball again and he wasn't going to go down without a fight. He bounced around from team to team, signing 10-day contract's, even spending time in the NBA's developmental league. Here's a list of the team's he had played for before this past season:
After all the perseverance, all the trouble's and struggle's, he landed a contract playing for the Jason Kidd led Brooklyn Nets where he was a key cog in the Nets finals aspiration's. Averaging almost 9 point's per game, 3 assist's and a career high 1.2 steal's per game, Livingston was a bright spot for Brooklyn as they struggled out of the gate. Livingston was extremely consistent on a nightly basis and was the most important piece of the team when all-star Deron Williams injured his ankle. He would start multiple game's for the Nets on the way to their playoff berth where their season would end against eventual Eastern Conference champion's, the Miami Heat.
Needless to say, Livingston's full circle of recovery and great basketball play, has landed him his first major contract. He has recently signed a 3 year deal worth $16 million dollar's to be another important part of a franchise on the rise:
The Golden State Warriors.
You can't help but smile and feel good for a guy who never gave up his dream of playing in the NBA and all he went through to get to where he is now. It's just an incredible story. He should be extremely proud of himself for the work he has done and how far he has come. The sport's world wishes him nothing but the best and continued success.