Randy Livingston Collects Another NBA D-League Milestone
The knowledge he has gained from being an NBA journeyman as well as a D-League career that saw Livingston lead his team to the D-League championship and earn MVP honors in the same season will give him a step up on the competition in his new role.
"I think it's going to be a big positive to know the ins and outs of the league," Livingston told FanHouse. "It's like if someone that was interning at a company eventually becomes the CEO of the company -- I'm going to know every little detail. I didn't skip any steps in getting to this level and every one of them has been a good learning experience."
Livingston was widely considered the top prospect in high school before suffering two major knee injuries while attending Louisiana State University. Livingston was able to persevere through the injuries, though, eventually turning his afterthought status as a second-round pick in the 1996 NBA Draft into a career that allowed him to play in the NBA for parts of 11 seasons.
"One of my biggest strengths as a head coach -- as a coach, period -- is that I'm able to draw from my professional experiences during the games as a player," Livingston said. "I think there's a lot that I have to offer. I feel that I have a good ability to see the game as it's developing and as it's going on so I can make in-game adjustments quickly and efficiently -- just like I made them in the game when I played."
Livingston's predecessor, Bob MacKinnon, was known for his high-speed, fun-and-gun, stat-stuffing style of offense that helped three players get called-up to the NBA last season. Livingston, however, plans to get back to the basics.
"If you play the game the right way, which is being unselfish on both ends of the court and making sacrifices for your teammates, usually you get rewarded," Livingston said. "I know the D-League is a league where the guys are trying to make themselves better and put up big stats so that maybe they can get called up, but at the end of the day, winning is probably more important than anything else. Most NBA teams are looking for winners. That's something I'll always stress to the guys."
If you're wondering about his credentials in saying that winning is of utmost importance, there's no one else in the world that knows more of what it takes to be called up from a minor league to the big show. Livingston, something of a minor-league legend, was called up to the NBA 19 times from the now-defunct CBA and, later in his career, NBA D-League.
"Most guys, in their careers, they either make it to the NBA or they go overseas," Livingston said. "I always thought for my career, once I decided to go pro from LSU, I was going to take the road less-traveled by just being persistent and persevering through everything."
It would seem by coming up through the D-League that the persistence has paid off.
"The D-League has groomed me. It turned me from a player to a man to an assistant and to a head coach now," Livingston said. "I'm one of the guys that the D-League, I don't know how you want to say it, but one of poster boys of the league, in terms of being a player -- I won a championship, was named MVP -- and then went to an assistant coach and now a head coach. I think I'm kind of everything the D-League's about."
Livingston also took advantage of the D-League's off-the-court opportunities when he recently completed his degree by way of a special partnership that the league has with the University of Phoenix.
"The D-League's been great. Persevering and finishing school was a big deal, not only for myself but for my kids to be able to follow," Livingston said. "I also promised my mom that I would get my college degree after I left early from LSU, and I did that, so it's a wonderful time for myself -- getting this head coaching job couldn't have been better timing since I just finished school."
Livingston added, "Kevin Carr, who works for the NBA, has been very instrumental in continuing to push me toward my degree."
For the next few weeks, before moving back to Boise, Livingston will also be working to get his "Big Easy Elite" AAU program off the ground.
"I'm actually back in New Orleans right now. My first tournament is July 25-27 at the Alario Center, which is the Hornets' practice facility," Livingston said. "I came up through the local AAU group, the Louisiana Spartans, and we won six AAU national championships, so I'm back to where it all started for me -- It's where I began with all of my coaching philosophies and where I learned how to play the game the right way."
While giving back to his hometown, which is still recovering in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, is one of his passions, he's still very much focused on his new job with the Stampede.
"I'm going in to be one of the best as a coach," Livingston said. "I know that I have some things that I need to learn still, but at the same time, I'm going to approach it like I've approached everything else in life -- I'm going to go at it 110 percent and eventually I'm going to find my niche and be very successful with it."
If Livingston's able to achieve as much success as a head coach in the D-League as he plans, there's only one more mountain left to climb.
"I've been kidding with those guys (in the NBA office). I know they have Jerry West on the NBA uniform, but I think maybe they should think about putting my stamp on the D-League logo," Livingston joked. "I represent everything that the D-League has been about so maybe if I'm able to win a couple of championships as a coach, I can be the new logo."