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“I'm ultimately grateful for it” — Shaun Livingston on his gruesome knee injury

The injury was so severe amputation seemed like a likely outcome at one point.
Golden State Warriors guard Shaun Livingston

Shaun Livingston

Had he not won three NBA championships with the Golden State Warriors, Shaun Livingston would be remembered for suffering one of the most gruesome injuries in NBA history. Fortunately, he was able to come back stronger than ever, and it’s amazing how he embraces everything that happened to him with zero regrets.

Shaun felt it needed to happen

Livingston arrived in the league in 2004 as the 4th overall pick in the crop of rookies that year. The notably lean, 6-foot-7 point guard was drafted by the Los Angeles Clippers and gradually improved season after season until he incurred an almost career-ending knee injury in 2007.

As we all know, Livingston hurt his knee following a simple layup, tearing several ligaments, including ACL, PCL, and MCL. It seemed hopeless, to say the least - the injury was so severe amputation seemed like a likely outcome at one point. 

Reflecting on the subject, Livingston confessed that it was “One of the most challenging things that I've ever done in my life.” But at the same time, “It was also one of the most necessary things that have ever happened.” Why? Because Livingston felt that injury needed to happen so he could really fathom what he was truly capable of, not only as a player but also as a person.

I'm thankful and grateful for that because it pulled out another level inside of me, and showed me who I really was when my back was against the wall,” Livingston told WBCU in March. “…Of course, there were times of fear and doubt. You don't know if you're going to make it, what's going to happen, the anxiety of the future, being in and out and on the cusp of the NBA…But ultimately, it shaped me; it shaped my path, it shaped my mentality, my mindset, my heart set, and I'm ultimately grateful for it.

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Retired as a legend

After rehabbing for an entire season, Livingston returned in the 2008-09 season only to bounce around to seven different teams in the next six years. He finally found a glimmer of hope when the Warriors signed him in the summer of 2014.

In Golden State, Livingston’s numbers weren’t eye-popping. However, he helped the Dubs cop three titles in the franchise’s historic five-year run.

Warriors head coach Steve Kerr described Livingston as “One of the rocks of our foundation,” and unsurprisingly, general manager Bob Myers felt the same way.

"Shaun is the epitome of class and professionalism and is everything you'd want in a teammate, both on the court and off," Myers said via Bleacher Report. "What he helped us accomplish in his five years with the organization pales in comparison to who he is as a human being.

In 2019, Livingston felt he had served his purpose as far as his career goes and called it quits. He may not have earned any individual accolades to his name, but undeniably, Shaun was a legend in his unique way.

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