LaMarcus Aldridge announces retirement, citing irregular heartbeat

“Although I am better now, what I felt with my heart that night was still one of the scariest things I have ever experienced. With that said, I made the difficult decision to withdraw from the NBA. Basketball has come first for 15 years, and now it’s time to put my health and family first. “

Shy and calm off the pitch, 35-year-old Aldridge established himself as a Hall of Fame candidate with his signature mid-range jump, sophisticated post moves, and versatile defense. The five-time All-NBA selection and seven-time All-Star will retire as one of only 25 players in NBA history with more than 19,000 career points and over 8,000 career recoveries. When he played his last game on Saturday, according to Basketball Reference, Aldridge was third among the active players in field goals scored (8,059), fifth in rebounds (8,478), sixth in points (19,951) and eighth place in the blocks (1,140).

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Aldridge, a former University of Texas star, was selected by the Chicago Bulls with the second overall win in the 2006 NBA draft. His rights were sold to the Portland Trail Blazers shortly thereafter, and he was named to the NBA’s all-rookie first team the following year.

He played 63 games during his rookie campaign but was expelled for the remainder of the season just before April when he was diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, a condition that causes periods of rapid heart rate.

The team identified the condition after experiencing dizziness and an irregular heartbeat on March 31, 2007 when playing against the Los Angeles Clippers for just seven minutes. Initially diagnosed with dehydration, he was taken to the hospital, monitored, and later referred for further tests.

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He started 76 games the following season, but had surgery in 2011 to correct complications associated with the condition. Six years later, as a member of the San Antonio Spurs, he missed two games due to a mild cardiac arrhythmia. He helped lead San Antonio to the conference finals later that year.

The pieces never quite matched so the understated Aldridge could maximize his NBA fortune. Portland’s vision of building a competitor for a Big Three from Greg Oden, Brandon Roy and Aldridge was distracted by injuries to the other stars. Aldridge appeared as a franchise player for the Blazers before choosing the Spurs as one of the most sought-after free agents in 2015. In San Antonio, he expected to compete for championships every year, only to retire Tim Duncan and ask Kawhi Leonard the city for years to come.

In nine postseason runs with Portland and San Antonio, Aldridge averaged 20.8 points at 45.5 percent out of the field.

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In search of the first title of his career, Aldridge agreed to buy out with Spurs and signed with the Nets last month. He entered mid-start immediately, and his exit will leave one of the top contenders in the East less options against the elite against big men.

Aldridge last played against the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday and missed the Nets’ last two games with an illness the team described as “non-Covid-related”. Before announcing his resignation, he averaged 12.8 points and 4.8 rebounds in five games with Brooklyn.

“The Nets organization fully supports LaMarcus’ decision, and while we appreciate what he brought to our team during his brief time in Brooklyn, his health and wellbeing are far more important than playing basketball,” said Sean Marks. General manager of Nets said in a statement.