Allstate Sugar Bowl to Host Annual Banquet on Saturday, August 6, in the Superdome
NEW ORLEANS – High school basketball legend Randy Livingston will be the first of four standout local athletes to be inducted into the Allstate Sugar Bowl’s Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame on Saturday, August 6 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Each year’s Hall of Fame class is selected by the Greater New Orleans Sports Awards Committee, a group of current and former media members who annually recognize a variety of award-winners, including the Corbett Awards and the Eddie Robinson Award. The group also selects the Greater New Orleans Amateur Athlete of the Month each month.
A total of 24 individuals, including this year’s Hall of Fame class, and two teams will be honored at this year’s banquet.
In seventh grade at John Curtis Christian School in River Ridge, Livingston was so talented, explosive and sturdily built that the Curtis football staff was convinced it had found its veer quarterback of the future – or at least for the next six championship years.
Even Livingston would have agreed at the time. “I had started playing basketball at 9 years old, and I wasn’t very good at it,” he said, laughing. “Football was my first love.”
Then, the reality of getting hit on every play finally sank in.
After sharpening his basketball skills in the summer under the tutelage of AAU coach William Robinson, Livingston enrolled at Isidore Newman High School and electrified New Orleans prep basketball, leading the Greenies to three consecutive Class 2A state championships (1991, 1992 and 1993) and a four-year record of 114-15.
Livingston, who shared National Prep Player of the Year honors with Jason Kidd in 1992 and Rasheed Wallace in 1993, accomplished it all with leadership and efficiency.
In four seasons at Newman, Livingston grew into a 6-4, 210-pound frame and scored 3,429 points (26.6 ppg) on 52.3 percent shooting to go along with 8.8 rebounds and 5.7 assists per game.
He was a prized Dale Brown recruit at LSU but tore his ACL the summer before enrolling in Baton Rouge and then broke his kneecap as a Tiger sophomore. Despite those injuries limiting his college career to 32 games, Livingston played in the NBA for parts of 11 seasons (1996-2007). He also played in the CBA, the Turkish League and the NBA Development League – earning D League MVP honors in 2007.
Livingston refuses to wonder about what else he might have accomplished had it not been for his post-Newman injuries. “To be honest, it took a long time to get over the injuries, and it wasn’t so much the physical part,” Livingston said. “People don’t realize that I still played 10-plus years in the NBA on one leg. I battled because I loved the game. I would have loved to have shown the world the top-flight Randy Livingston who wasn’t injured. But life deals you cards, and you deal with them the best you know how.”
In Livingston’s senior year, Newman faced Port Barre in the state finals, and Livingston fouled out with four minutes left in regulation. The game eventually went into overtime.
“He got some calls that were probably not good calls, but he had never fouled out of a game before,” said Ed Graf, who was a Newman assistant coach during Livingston’s tenure. “Randy took the kids on the court and huddled them up. He told them, ‘Just do what you do every day in practice. You don’t need me.’ We were down six and came back on a shot at the buzzer to win.’”
Former Newman head coach Billy Fitzgerald emphasized Livingston’s unselfish nature, shown by his desire to keep playing basketball through his physical adversities. “I cannot listen to anybody say the name ‘Jason Kidd’ and not think that Randy was a better player than Jason was,” Fitzgerald said. “I’m not sure anybody could have handled it better than Randy did.”
Livingston moved to Australia in December 2012 and started a scouting service for men and women college prospects. He’s looking forward to returning home for his induction into the Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame. “I had a work ethic that was second to none,” Livingston said. “I really loved the game of basketball. I think talent tends to be overrated as a predictor of long-term success. It’s people who love the game. That’s what it should be judged on.”
Story submitted by Peter Finney, Jr., of the Greater New Orleans Sports Awards Committee.