For the first time in a while, NBA fans have every reason to feel some anticipation for this year’s Sprite Slam Dunk Contest on All-Star weekend. The competition features a slew of young talent, many of whom are some of the league’s rising stars, as well as a brand new conference team format that is sure to spark much more interest than in previous years.
As always, these guys can soar with the best of them, but someone who will not participate that I was really holding out hope for was Brooklyn Nets guard Shaun Livingston.
Yes, that Shaun Livingston who was almost on the verge of having his leg amputated almost seven years ago after suffering one of the most gruesome injuries ever seen while playing for the Los Angeles Clippers.
Somehow Livingston managed his way back onto the basketball court in 2008 and has held a job every season since. Now playing a key role with the Nets, Livingston has evidenced on multiple occasions that he’s more athletic than most players in this league. When given a clear path to the hoop he gets off the floor as if he’s got a set of springs attached to his sneakers.
Being aware of his story, it’s quite remarkable to watch his still incredible leaping ability. And with almost everyone recalling that dreadful injury, witnessing him compete in this year’s dunk contest would’ve made for one of the better feel-good comeback stories in recent memory.
Not that it was an atrocity to leave Livingston out of the competition by any means. The league knows exactly what it’s doing in showcasing so many young eagles like Paul George, John Wall, Terrence Ross, Damian Lillard, Harrison Barnes and Ben McLemore. However, there’s no doubt that Livingston’s presence would’ve made even more of a compelling spectacle of the night.
Hopefully next season Livingston will get an opportunity to not only compete and surprise, but also dazzle and leave some jaws on the floor in the dunk contest. He certainly would deserve it.