NBA Injury Comebacks: Shaun Livingston

Photo by Tony Dejak/AP

It’s no secret that the NBA plays host to some of the world’s greatest athletes, all of whom must meet the expectations of exceptional stamina, skill, and dominance over the court and other players each season. 

With such intense requirements during NBA practices and games alike, it’s only natural that injuries will occur — the vast majority taking players out of play for short recovery periods. Unfortunately, removing players could have a huge impact on overall team performance. 

In this instance, you can stay up-to-date by checking out NBA betting odds for the season.

However, this was not the case with NBA legend Shaun Livingston. A gruesome injury robbed Livingston of the quality career he wanted. Yet, somehow, he made an NBA injury comeback to the league and ended his career on a high.

Who Is Shaun Livingston?

There’s a lot to learn about this impressive point guard that makes him stand out. Let’s dive into the basics.

Livingston was a tall point guard and a highly-rated prospect coming directly out of high school. As a result, he was drafted immediately by the Los Angeles Clippers during the 2004 NBA draft and went on to see lots of success with the team and all others that followed.

Shaun Livingston is mostly remembered for his huge height advantage in his chosen position, being able to efficiently play despite being 6’7”. 

Every time he stepped foot on the court, he strategically utilized his size advantage while implementing a solid post-game. He was also a very reliable turnaround jumper.

A master of the midrange and of playing an inverted game, Livingston was also extremely impactful when playing off the ball. Livingston’s value also remains unquestioned, particularly regarding his defense. 

Professional Career

As we’ve mentioned, Livingston started his professional career with the Los Angeles Clippers straight after high school (2004). This swiftly ended after he sustained a debilitating injury in 2007, needing a year and a half to recover. 

He went on to play for the following teams during his 15-year-long professional basketball career:

  • Miami Heat
  • Tulsa 66ers (now the Oklahoma City Blue) in the NBA Development League.
  • Oklahoma City Thunder
  • Washington Wizards
  • Charlotte Bobcats (now the Charlotte Hornets)
  • Milwaukee Bucks
  • Cleveland Cavaliers
  • Brooklyn Nets
  • Golden State Warriors

 Shaun Livingston played a total of 959 games. He even won three NBA championships as a Golden State Warrior — in 2015, 2017, and 2018.


The Accident

His near career-ending injury occurred in the 2006-07 regular season in a game against the Charlotte Bobcats (now the Charlotte Hornets). 

Here, after a bad landing that saw him completely miss a layup, Livingston destroyed pretty much every part of his knee.

In technical terms, he tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), and also his lateral meniscus. He also managed to sprain his medial collateral ligament (MCL) and dislocate his tibiofibular and patella joints (the kneecap).

Essentially, he rendered his knee almost completely useless.

Viewers in the arena and at home had a close-up of the graphic accident. Unfortunately, they could also see that his leg was bent to the side in an extremely unnatural position. He was taken off the court quickly.

The Aftermath

One of the most devastating injuries that the NBA has ever seen occurred during Livingston’s third season with the Clippers. 

In simple terms, the injury Livingston sustained was unlike anything the NBA had ever seen before. 

Due to the severity of what had occurred, Livingston was informed by medical professionals that there was a huge chance he would need to have his leg amputated.

Not only was this a huge blow to him personally but also to his playing career. Livingston was understandably devastated yet willing to put in whatever work was necessary to recover the use of his leg.

Before he was able to step back onto the court, he underwent months of intense rehabilitation. This, coupled with other injuries, meant that he missed 101 of 246 games during his first three years in the NBA.

He would not get picked up by the Clips after his third year, which kicked off Livingston’s career in the NBA. Yet this didn’t spell the end of his career in the league!

Miraculously, he began to make a comeback to the league in 2008. Not only did this showcase Livingston’s grit and determination, but it highlighted his bravery to resume his play despite almost losing his leg.

What Happened Next?

Livingston played in the NBA for 12 additional years after his injury. Notably, he became a crucial figure in the Warriors dynasty, winning three rings in the process. He played his final five years with the Golden State Warriors and retired in 2019.

However, he didn’t leave the NBA behind. He’s now a crucial figure in the front office and the locker room of the Golden State Warriors.


Shaun Livingston is renowned for his incredible determination, strength, and bravery to make a comeback to the very sport that almost cost him his leg. He quickly became a fan favorite during his time with the Warriors and continues to uphold this position today in a different capacity.

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