Inside An NBA Champion

In this Financial Samurai podcast (Apple, Spotify), I have the pleasure of speaking with NBA champion Shaun Livingston. Despite sustaining a devastating injury earlier in his career, he overcame and went on to win three NBA championships with the Golden State Warriors as a point guard. He then won a fourth championship as a Golden State Warriors executive.

In 2018, Shaun reached out to talk about planning for life after basketball. We grabbed some lunch in San Francisco and have developed a great friendship ever since.

We talk about:

  • how he got into the NBA
  • what it takes to stay in the league for 15 years
  • the circumstances that landed him with the Warriors
  • talent versus work ethic
  • how powerful and instrumental is the coach
  • NBA money and what it’s really like to suddenly earn so much
  • how to make the money last and why it doesn’t sometimes

Shaun actually got me thinking about working in the NBA for the Warriors once my early retirement ends in Fall 2024. I love the NBA, have met most of the players at a team event, and miss the camaraderie of working towards a mission.

I figured, why not start off as a video coordinator like player GP2 or coach Erik Spoelstra? Although the pay would be low, you never know what great things await unless you try! Alas, the NBA season is 6 months long and consists of 82 regular season games with a lot of traveling. That’s tough with two little ones.

Although our backgrounds are so different, Shaun and I also share so much in common. We both retired at 34. We both love our families and basketball. And we both enjoy planning for our futures!

One of my favorite things about sports is that it brings people of all types together.

Shaun entered the league directly out of high school and was selected fourth by the Los Angeles Clippers in the 2004 NBA draft. In a 15-year professional career in the league, Livingston played 959 games for nine teams and won three NBA championships as a Golden State Warrior in 2015, 2017 and 2018. After Shaun retired, he then won his fourth NBA championship as an executive.

Shaun was born in Peoria, Illinois. He led Concordia Lutheran Grade School to LSA state titles in 1999 and 2000. Shaun played basketball at Richwoods High School for two years, then he transferred to Peoria Central High School, where he led his team to back-to-back Class AA state titles in 2003 and 2004.

In 2004, he was named Illinois Mr. Basketball and played in the McDonald’s All-American Game. Shaun was listed as the No. 1 point guard and the No. 2 high school player in the nation in 2004. You can read more about Shaun here.

A Conversation With Shaun Livingston On The Financial Samurai Podcast

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Postscript: The Combination Of Business And Sports

Inside An NBA Champion's Journey With Shaun Livingston
Shaun and Sam – The difference between 6’7″ and 5’10”

I just realized something after listening to this episode. Meeting people like Shaun is one of the reasons why it’s been so hard to leave San Francisco. Not only is there excitement around startups, technological innovation, and global politics in this city, there are also winning sports teams.

When I lived in New York City from 1999-2001, the combination of working on Wall Street during a bull market and watching the Yankees win the World Series in 1999 and 2000 was electrifying!

Since moving to San Francisco in 2001, I’ve enjoyed the tech and internet boom while also watching the Giants win the World Series in 2010, 2012, and 2014. To then add on the Warriors winning four NBA Championships, there’s just too much excitement going on to leave.

I love the combination of business and sports. Both involve struggle, immense competition, heartbreaking losses, perseverance, and if you’re lucky, glorious wins. I respect anybody who is willing to show up and compete! And for those who win it all, not once, but multiple times, then all I can do is tip my hat to them.

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