The last two times I talked to Aldridge in San Antonio, I was struck by how at peace he seemed, and how much his perspective had changed. There was no angst about where he stood or how he was perceived. He smiled easily, talked about the importance of family, and was curious about people within the Blazers’ organization.
In 2014, he said he wanted to stay in Portland and cement his legacy as the greatest Blazer of all time… then he chose to leave for San Antonio less than a year later in free agency. And while in San Antonio, he said he would like to one day reunite with Damian Lillard and end his career in Portland … then when presented with just that chance after a San Antonio buyout this spring, he instead chose Brooklyn. In between his mixed messages, there were some incredible moments. Some incredible production. And some real growth as a person. But there was also a lot of bitterness, pettiness and moodiness that led to much of the hurt.
Behind the scenes, though, it was a struggle. He battled insecurity, never feeling he was valued as much as Brandon Roy or even Greg Oden. He brooded during his early years with Roy, much of it stemming from him not being asked to a dinner in Memphis, which turned out to be more of a miscommunication than a slight.
And he struggled with bitterness and pettiness as he felt threatened by Lillard’s emergence in 2012, and the adoration of the city that was quickly heaped upon the young guard. He would turn down NBA public service announcements, then complain when Lillard did them, pointing it out as proof the organization favored Lillard.
Kellan Olson: Chris Paul said he had a chance to talk to LaMarcus Aldridge this morning. Said it put a lot into perspective for all of them who have been playing the game since they were kids and then suddenly it's done. Glad he's OK and getting right but said he hates this for Aldridge.
Brooklyn Nets center-forward LaMarcus Aldridge announced his sudden retirement from the NBA on Thursday after he was diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat after a recent game. “Though I’m better now, what I felt with my heart that night was still one of the scariest things I’ve experienced,” Aldridge said in a statement posted on Twitter. “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’s time to put my health and family first.” Aldridge is 35 years old and has two children.
LaMarcus Aldridge: Today, I write this letter with a heavy heart. My last game, I played dealing with an irrewgular 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.
LaMarcus Aldridge: 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. I'm thankful for everything this game has given me: the great memories, including all the ups and the downs, and the friendships I've made and will keep with me forever. I thank Portland for drafting a skinny, Texas kid and giving him a chance. The city of Portland has given me some unforgettable years. They will always remain in my heart. I want to thank the Spurs for letting me into the family and giving me 5 fun years. Last but not least, I want to thank Brooklyn. 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 a part of this special group. You never know when something will come to an end, so make sure you enjoy it everyday. I can truly say I did just that.