“After 15 years in the NBA, I’m excited, sad, fortunate and grateful all in one breath,” Livingston wrote. “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.”
The fourth overall pick in the 2004 draft, Livingston began his NBA career with the Clippers and was on the rise when his development was derailed by a catastrophic knee injury in his third season. In addition to tearing his ACL and PCL, Livingston also dislocated his kneecap, tore his lateral meniscus, sprained his MCL, and dislocated his patella.
While there were doubts about his ability to return as an effective NBA player following that injury, Livingston eventually made his way back to the court and appeared in over 800 more games (including the playoffs) for the Heat, Thunder, Wizards, Bobcats, Bucks, Cavaliers, Nets, and Warriors.
Livingston, who turned 34 years old on Wednesday, was a key contributor off the bench for Golden State during the team’s recent run of five consecutive NBA Finals appearances. During those five years, the 6’7″ guard averaged 5.4 PPG and 2.4 APG in 367 regular season contests (17.5 MPG) and won three titles with the Warriors.
Livingston was released earlier this summer before his contract for 2019/20 could become fully guaranteed because the Dubs were obligated to keep team salary below a hard cap. It’s not clear if he would have played one more season in Golden State if the club had been able to keep him on its roster or if he would have ultimately decided to retire anyway.
For what it’s worth, a report at the time of his release indicated that Livingston intended to continue his career. Assuming that report was accurate, it seems the Illinois native either had a change of heart or didn’t find an opportunity he liked.
Livingston’s next step is not yet known, but a July report suggested the Warriors would likely offer him a role in the organization upon his retirement.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.