Apparently it’s a good year for the Golden State Warriors to bring back beloved former players and give them new roles in basketball operations.
On the same day that Leandro Barbosa announced that he would be joining the Warriors coaching staff as a player mentor coach, his former teammate Shaun Livingston revealed that he’s joining the team’s front office.
In an exclusive interview with The Athletic’s Marcus Thompson II, Livingston announced that he’s joining the team in the roll of director, players affairs and engagement. Thompson reports that the move has been a long time in the making, and that Golden State had initially tried to talk Livingston into a coaching role, but he preferred a front office gig.
After a year off, Livingston is ready for the next phase. The natural move would have been coaching. A point guard all his life, cerebral and composed, Livingston has the pedigree for it. Most expected that to be his post-career move. The Warriors’ front office even encouraged it. Steve Kerr would very likely find a spot for Livingston on the bench.
But during one of his conversations with Bob Myers, Livingston declared his preference for the front office. Myers was elated about the revelation and spent the next couple of years recruiting Livingston, working to keep his talent in house when Livingston hung up his Nikes.
“I always knew that door was open,” Livingston said. “I just had to walk through it.”
Thompson also noted that Livingston is the highest-ranking Black person in the team’s front office since Mitch Richmond was assistant general manager in 2008.
Livingston retired last offseason. After the Warriors cut him to save some money, he tried to find a team to play one more year with. But he only had interest in a few teams, as he wanted to stay near his family, and those teams either didn’t have mutual interest, or lacked the space. And so his long career came to an end.
And what a career it was. Livingston was drafted fourth overall in 2004, and looked to be on a path towards stardom. But in his third year in the league he suffered a gruesome and horrific injury; not only was his career in jeopardy, but so was his leg.
Doctors were able to avoid amputation, but it took Livingston months before he could even walk again, let alone run or play basketball.
Remarkably he worked his way back onto the court. For awhile it seemed like he’d just be a feel-good story about perseverance, but over time he developed into a high quality role player. He never reached the hyper-athletic heights that he had in his first few years, but he became one of the league’s smartest players, with an automatic mid-range jumper and stellar defense.
He played the last five years of his career with the Warriors, winning three championships and endearing himself to the fanbase along the way. It’s good to have him back in the organization.