NEW YORK (AP) — LaMarcus Aldridge, a Portland Trail Blazers legend, 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 concern he had during and after Brooklyn’s victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday was one of the “scariest things” he’s experienced.
Aldridge 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 NBA All-Star was a former Portland Trail Blazer, wearing the red and black uniform for his first nine years in the league. In his retirement announcement, Aldridge thanked Portland for his time in the Rose City.
“I thank Portland for drafting a skinny, Texas kid and giving him a chance,” he said. “The city of Portland has given me some unforgettable years. They will always remain in my heart”
Neil Olshey, the Blazers’ president of basketball operations, issued a statement following Aldridge’s announcement. In it, Olshey said Aldridge’s 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,” the statement read. “During his nine seasons in Portland, LaMarcus battled through multiple injuries and health concerns but never once allowed them to affect his commitment to his teammates and coaches on the court or the people that benefited from his outreach in the community off the court.
“He will go down as one of the best players in the history of the franchise and while it is sad to see his career cut short, he will always be a member of the Trail Blazer family and we wish him the best in all future endeavors.”
After Portland, Aldridge moved onto the San Antonio Spurs during the 2015 NBA free agency. He then signed with the Nets on March 28, 2021 and he had become their starting center for their first five games of the season.
He missed the last two games with what the team had called a non-COVID-19 illness.
“You never know when something is going to come to an end, so make sure you enjoy it every day,” Aldridge stated. “I can truly say I did just that.”
KOIN 6 News contributed to this Associated Press report.