LaMarcus Aldridge retires after diagnosis
Former Trail Blazer LaMarcus Aldridge, as a member of the Brooklyn Nets, shoots over Los Angeles Lakers center Andre Drummond during a game on April 11 in New York. (AP photo)
Former Portland Trail Blazer LaMarcus Aldridge retired from the NBA on Thursday after saying he experienced an irregular heartbeat during his final game with the Brooklyn Nets.
Aldridge, 35, posted a statement on social media saying the heart concerns he had during and after Brooklyn’s loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday was one of the “scariest things” he’s experienced.
Aldridge, who was diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome — an abnormality that can cause a rapid heartbeat — as a rookie in Portland in 2007, said he feels better now after getting it checked out but decided to end his 15-year career.
“For 15 years I’ve put basketball first, and now, it is time to put my health and my family first,” Aldridge wrote.
The seven-time All-Star signed with the Nets on March 28 and he had become their starting center. He missed the last two games with what the team had called a non-COVID-19 illness.
The No. 2 pick in the 2006 draft was long one of the best at his position, averaging 19.4 points in a career that began with nine seasons in Portland.
He went on to play 5 1/2 with the Spurs and was a five-time All-NBA selection.
Aldridge thanked all three organizations in his post, saying the Blazers gave him some “unforgettable years” after drafting a “skinny, Texas kid.”
He praised the Nets for allowing him to play his type of game, when so many NBA teams are looking more to the perimeter instead of the post now.
Trail Blazer executive Neil Olshey called Aldridge one of the best players in the history of the franchise.
“LaMarcus had a storied NBA career and his time as a Trail Blazer will always be remembered fondly. Any success we experienced during his tenure in Portland would not have been possible without his work ethic, dedication and talent, Olshey said. “He will always be a member of the Trail Blazer family and we wish him the best in all future endeavors.”