Shaun Livingston’s challenging NBA career and enduring legacy

NBA Golden State Warriors Shaun Livingston (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
NBA Golden State Warriors Shaun Livingston (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /
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NBA Golden State Warriors Shaun Livingston (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

As Shaun Livingston bids farewell to the NBA after 15 seasons, we take a look at his remarkable story

After 15 years on the NBA On Friday, Shaun Livingston announced his retirement. Although in recent years, the 34-year-old combo guard has been a three-time NBA Champion with the Golden State Warriors, he has had to overcome more than most to have such a long-lived NBA career.

Livingston’s basketball journey started all the way back in grade school. At just 14 years old, Livingston led his team to the first of two back to back LSA state titles. In high school, Livingston’s accomplishments kept piling up.

In 2003 and 2004 he led the Peoria Central High School basketball team to Class AA state titles. Also in 2004, he was named Illinois Mr. Basketball, an award decided upon by balloting coaches and media all across the state. Livingston had averaged 18.5 points, six rebounds, and six assists and won the vote by a landslide with 184 first-place votes. The next player behind him received 32.

Coming out of high school, Livingston had options. He had committed to playing for the legendary Coach Krzyzewski at Duke but the siren call of the NBA is hard for a baller to resist, especially at 18 years old.

Livingston, though, wasn’t just any 18-year-old boy. He was one of the best young basketball players in the country. In fact, in 2004, ranked him as the No. 1 point guard and the number two high school also player overall. Discussing Livingston’s prospects, his high school coach, Chuck Buescher said:

"These draft experts are saying he’s a tall point guard with the vision of Jason Kidd. They love his flair and his basketball IQ."

As important as being a gifted basketball player at a young age, Livingston was also well grounded by his family. Both his 74-year-old grandfather Frank and his father Reggie wanted him to play college basketball. At the same time, they respected that ultimately the choice was his to make and they were going to support him either way.

Ultimately, Livingston opted to bypass college basketball and go directly to the NBA draft. In doing so, he joined the company of Kevin Garnett, Darius Miles, and Eddy Curry, all of whom were also named Mr. Basketball and went straight from high school to the NBA.