LaMarcus Aldridge stunned the NBA community on Thursday morning when he announced his retirement, but the Nets’ center has a very good reason to walk away from the league after 15 years.
In a statement posted from his official Twitter account, Aldridge revealed that he played his most recent game with an irregular heartbeat. Back in 2007, he was diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, a condition that causes a rapid heartbeat.
“Though I’m better now, what I felt with my heart that night was still one of the scariest things I’ve ever experienced,” Aldridge said in the statement. “With that being said, I’ve made the difficult decision to retire from the NBA. For 15 years, I’ve put basketball first, and now, it is time to put my health and family first.
“I’m thankful for everything this game has given me: the great memories, including all the ups and the downs, and the friendships I’ve made and will keep with me forever.”
A five-time All-NBA and seven-time All-Star selection, Aldridge was taken by the Bulls with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft, then traded on draft night to the Trail Blazers. He spent his first nine seasons in Portland before signing with the Spurs in 2015. He reached a buyout agreement with San Antonio last month, clearing the way for him to join Brooklyn, but he was only able to play five games in a Nets uniform.
“I thank Portland for drafting a skinny, Texas kid and giving him a chance,” Aldridge said. “The city of Portland has given me some unforgettable years. They will always remain in my heart. I want to thank the Spurs for letting me into the family and giving me five fun years. Last but not least, I want to thank Brooklyn. You wanted me for me. In a game that’s changing so much, you asked me to come and just do what I do which was good to hear. I’m sorry it didn’t get to last long, but I’ve definitely had fun being a part of this special group.
“You never know when something will come to an end, so make sure you enjoy it every day. I can truly say I did just that.”
Aldridge totaled 19,951 points and 8,478 rebounds over 1,029 career games, making him just one of 25 players in NBA history with 19,000-plus points and 8,000-plus rebounds. He emerged as one of the most prolific midrange scorers in the league over the past decade, and his turnaround jumper from the left block was a nearly unguardable weapon given his height (6-11) and high release point.
The 35-year-old’s Hall of Fame case will be debated in the near future, but as ESPN’s Kevin Pelton notes, every eligible player with at least seven All-Star selections since the 1950s has been enshrined. Regardless of whether he ultimately makes it to Springfield, Mass., his fellow NBA players all agree he put together an “amazing career.”
Respect Bro 🙏🏽 congratulations on a helluva career! Always loved playing against you but always hated trying to contest that high release😂..wishing you & your Family all the best https://t.co/OYwNVTVcth
— Tyson Chandler (@tysonchandler) April 15, 2021