Shaun Livingston still can’t stomach the video replay of his freak fall.
Won’t even try.
"Mentally, it’s best,” Livingston said. "I don’t think I’m going to be trying to come down the lane and dunk off one leg looking at stuff like that.”
It’s been more than two years since Livingston’s left leg buckled, then folded like a lawn chair after a fast-break layup attempt on Feb. 26, 2007. A play that started off with a routine steal ended up tearing his ACL, MCL, PCL and dislocating his knee cap. The injury was described as debilitating, catastrophic, one of the worst knee injuries in NBA history.
Livingston missed the final 26 games of the 2006-07 season and all of 2007-08 while recovering.
Only now is Livingston, the 23-year-old point guard, anywhere close to again doing the things that once came naturally. And it’s the Thunder that’s given Livingston the chance to prove he still can do those things in the NBA after signing the former No. 4 overall pick in 2004 to a two-year contract on Tuesday.
"You do a lot of soul-searching in two years not being able to play,” said Livingston.
There were times during Livingston’s three healthy seasons with the Los Angeles Clippers that he admittedly took nights off. Relied on God-given ability.
"When you’re talented like that and you kind of got the world right next to you almost, it’s easy to kind of overlook it,” Livingston said.
After all, the game always came easy to the wiry 6-foot-7 guard.
Livingston led his Peoria (Ill.) Central High team to back-to-back state titles in 2003 and 2004. He earned 2004 McDonald’s All-American honors, sharing the game’s MVP award with Denver Nuggets guard J.R. Smith. Before declaring for the NBA Draft, he was set to take his talents to Duke.
His mix of size, athleticism, passing skills, court vision and ball-handling ability drew comparisons to Magic Johnson.
"Potentially he was one helluva player,” said San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich.