Basketball

Shaun Livingston, integral reserve on Warriors’ three NBA title teams, retires

Shaun Livingston got it right when he said upon his retirement from the NBA on Friday that "I wasn't supposed to be here."

A point guard with tremendous size, length, smarts and potential, Livingston was just coming into his own with the Clippers when he suffered a horrific knee injury on Feb. 26, 2007, later detailed in a 2016 story on theundefeated.com.

"Along with a dislocated left knee cap and broken left leg, Livingston tore his anterior cruciate ligament, posterior cruciate ligament and lateral meniscus. He also badly sprained his medial collateral ligament. Severely amplified pain haunted Livingston immediately."

"My leg was deformed," Livingston told theundefeated.com. "My knee joint was dislocated and out of place. It was painful. Ten seconds felt like an hour."

Not only did he recover, he capped his unlikely NBA journey with a Warriors team that went to five consecutive NBA Finals, winning three.

Warriors general manager Bob Meyers saluted Livingston in a statement.

"Shaun Livingston's story is one of the most inspirational in the history of professional sports. What he accomplished after suffering so many trials and tribulations early in his career is a true testament to who he is as a person. He represents everything that you'd want in a professional athlete and most, importantly, in a human being."

Livingston stepped away from the game in an Instagram post.

Livingston's decision was hardly impulsive. As recently as late July, he was contemplating his options in his hometown of Peoria, Ill., surrounded by those who know him best and love him most.

He liked the idea of returning to the Clippers, whom he joined out of high school in 2004.

"That would be awesome, the ideal fit," he told the Peoria Journal Star. "That would be a part of coming full circle. But it has to work on their end. There's been some interest. It's about whether they're ready to pull the trigger."

There was another consideration. His legs, mostly his knee. Even as he helped the Warriors to the Finals last season, he said there were games in which he felt bouncy, and games in which he didn't. It was as if he worked harder to get on the court than to stay there.

"Cold tub, hot tub, cryotherapy, massage therapy, weight room, ice baths," he told the Journal Star. "It's constant, constant, constant. If I'm doing all that and still feeling the way I'm feeling, those are yellow and red flags. Back-to-back games are a lot harder now. I feel like I've aged a lot faster with the injuries catching up."

They finally caught up. But Livingston gave them a run for the money Not bad for a guy who wasn't even supposed to be there.

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