Congratulations are in order to Shaun Livingston for simply stepping back on the basketball court after one of the more catastrophic injuries the NBA has ever seen.
"It's special just to play again, considering where I was," the 6-foot-7 playmaker said before taking the court at the University of South Alabama.
Livingston on a court at all is a wondrous sight for those of us NBA fans who marvelled at his burgeoning brilliance and waited anxiously for him to fully realize his rare potential. His injury was gruesome, painful to watch and, for me anyway, profoundly disturbing beyond just the visceral horror. Livingston was Peter Parker when he came into the league, a young man in awe of the abilities he had been blessed with and completely clueless as to how to use them in a meaningful way. An unwitting iconoclast, Livingston desperately tried to channel his gifts into a system that subverted them, steadily making slow but real progress. For that noble process to be halted in such brutal, merciless fashion raised existential questions for me. In short, why try? Why strive for greatness when the world inevitably steers you eventually into oblivion?
Livingston is now valiantly trying to simply subsist in a league he once threatened to dominate. Like that Coldplay song, sweeping the streets he used to own. Except Livingston, even on the day before his injury, was always about promise and possibility, not results. Not yet. The true tragedy of his injury is that it will never go away. Whatever he accomplishes, the question will always linger: could it have been better? If he becomes a valuable sixth man, could he have been a long-time starter? If he becomes a starter, could he have been an All-Star? If he becomes an All-Star, could he have become an MVP?
Livingston, and his fans, will have to learn to live with that new reality, a nightly reminder of the frailty of hope. That he has survived, adapted, persisted, should make it easier for the rest of us to do the same.
I don't really care so much about talking about the game. It's more of the same. Here's the Herald recap.