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LaMarcus Aldridge abruptly retires from NBA after irregular heartbeat scare

Aldridge became an NBA star during his 15-year career that included stops in Portland, San Antonio, and Brooklyn.

Los Angeles Lakers v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Veteran NBA forward LaMarcus Aldridge has announced his retirement from the league after experiencing an irregular heartbeat during the Brooklyn Nets’ loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday.

Aldridge had played just five games with the Nets after being bought out by the San Antonio Spurs to pursue a championship in Brooklyn. He issued this statement after his surprising announcement.

In his goodbye letter to the league and its fans, Aldridge wrote that it’s time to put his health and family first after the scare:

My last game, I played while dealing with an irregular heartbeat. Later on that night, my rhythm got even worse which really worried me even more. The next morning, I told the team what was going on and they were great getting me to the hospital and getting me checked out.

Though I’m better now, what I felt with my heart that night was still one of the scariest things I’ve experienced.

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.

Aldridge had started all five games for the Nets since joining the team. While he was no longer the same player he was during his prime at 35 years old, Aldridge was expected to contribute interior scoring and rebounding for a Nets team with title aspirations.

Aldridge was the No. 2 pick in the 2006 NBA Draft by the Chicago Bulls before being traded to the Portland Trail Blazers for Tyrus Thomas in a draft night deal. Aldridge spent his first nine seasons in Portland, where he made four NBA All-Star teams and helped lead the franchise to five playoff appearances in the Western Conference.

Aldridge was the big prize in 2015 NBA free agency when he decided to join the San Antonio Spurs. While Aldridge’s Spurs teams never reached the championship heights the team was accustomed to with Tim Duncan, the veteran forward still had a winning impact. He made three All-Star teams in first four seasons with the Spurs before the two sides decided to part ways earlier this season.

In addition to his seven All-Star selections, Aldridge was also named to the All-NBA team five times. The 6’11 big man retires as one of the better post scorers of his generation, ending his career with averages of 20.4 points and 8.7 rebounds per game across his 15 seasons. Aldridge was also known for his touch as a mid-range shooter. He even turned himself into a solid three-point shooter late in his career, making 61 triples at a 39 percent clip in the 2019-2020 season with San Antonio.

Aldridge spent two seasons in college with the Texas Longhorns before entering the NBA draft. He was named Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year in 2006 while also making the all-conference team.

NBA players react to LaMarcus Aldridge’s retirement

Current and former NBA players expressed their support for Aldridge after his decision.

If Aldridge isn’t considered a Hall of Fame-worthy player, he’ll be pretty damn close. What a great career.