Brooklyn Nets star LaMarcus Aldridge has announced his retirement from basketball following an irregular heartbeat scare.
The 35-year-old took to Twitter on Thursday to reveal his decision, describing events which followed a 23-minute cameo for the Brooklyn Nets against the LA Lakers.
“[In] my last game, I played while dealing with an irregular heartbeat,” he began.
“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.
— LaMarcus Aldridge (@aldridge_12) April 15, 2021
“Though I’m better now, what I felt with my heart that night was still one of the scariest things I’ve ever experienced,” he insisted, with the developments leading Aldridge to make “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 my family first,” he said.
Over that period, Aldridge reportedly made $211 million in career earnings and had just been bought out of the rest of his $72 million contract with the San Antonio Spurs in March.
Pulled out of the University of Texas early by the Portland Trail Blazers, as the second-overall pick of the 2006 draft, 6ft 11in Aldridge averaged a respectable 19.4 points per game and 8.2 rebounds across 1,029 outings.
Thanking all three outfits that took a punt on a “skinny Texas kid”, he said he was “thankful for everything this game has given me”.
Five years of unforgettable memories….Thank you, San Antonio! pic.twitter.com/tRscfpnZax
— LaMarcus Aldridge (@aldridge_12) March 25, 2021
There were “great memories” to cherish during “unforgettable years” in Portland, and a “fun” half decade in San Antonio, who he thanked for “letting me into the family”.
“Last but not least, I want to thank Brooklyn,” Aldridge said.
“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 part of this special group.”
Appreciate that! https://t.co/DApXO6QDoE
— LaMarcus Aldridge (@aldridge_12) November 15, 2020
“You never know when something will come to an end, so make sure you enjoy it everyday,” Aldridge concluded.
“I can truly say I did just that.”
With over 4,000 comments and counting on his announcement post, the tributes from fans and former colleagues rolled in for Aldridge.
Glad I had chance to share the court with you! All the best to you and your family! 💪
— Dāvis Bertāns (@DBertans_42) April 15, 2021
“Glad I had chance to share the court with you! All the best to you and your family!,” said fellow ex-Spurs star Davis Bertans.
Some Nets supporters questioned why Aldridge couldn’t hang on for just a little while longer to pick up an NBA championship ring with their hotly-favored franchise.
In a glittering time at the top level including seven All-Star appearances, it was the only thing missing from the legacy of an ace famous for his signature fadeaway jump shot.