NBA Rumor: LaMarcus Aldridge Retirement

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LaMarcus Aldridge: It would be a great honor to have my number retired in Portland

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LaMarcus Aldridge: 'I've been depressed'

“I’ve been depressed, and I’m trying to figure out how to navigate through not competing on the floor, learning not to be depressed,” Aldridge told The Athletic. “I still love basketball. I still feel like I have a lot to give. But even now, I’m still trying to find myself. When you go from doing something you love for so long and you lose it overnight, it’s a shock. Even though I knew it was the right decision, those next couple days there was a lot of back and forth with my family, my agent, with the Nets, and they definitely supported me either way. They were upfront and I thought they were great with (saying): ‘This is on you; we don’t know how you felt and how you feel, so we’re going to follow your lead.’ I thought that was awesome of them. I never felt any pressure to come back or make a decision based on the season. It was always: We fully understand what you’re going through, and so if this is what you want to do, you have our support.

“It was tough because I felt I was at a location and with a team that embraced me. I embraced them. We all had a common goal and we had chips on our shoulder to prove something. It was bitter for me. I had finally found the cohesiveness that I had wanted for a while in a group. And then all of a sudden I can’t play anymore. I felt if I stayed with the group, we definitely could get to the Finals and do something special. Those guys rooted for me just as much as I rooted for them. That’s what makes the game fun; when you have a bunch of guys with no egos and everyone’s cheering for each other to do well.

Ultimately, what went into your decision to retire after the career you had and the way you were still playing? LaMarcus Aldridge: It was very tough. I definitely wasn’t ready to hang it up and I still felt like I had more to give to a team and I feel I had a lot to give to the Nets. I feel like they needed what I brought to the table, so it was really tough to walk away. They needed an inside scorer and a rim protector, and that’s what I do, especially at this phase of my career. I’ve dealt with WPW, a heart condition, my whole career. I found out about it in 2006, my first year, so I’ve had some reoccurrences over the years and we’ve done studies. The doctors would do research to make sure nothing has changed. I had a weird game against the Lakers, my heart was just beating weird and out of rhythm.

Is that the hardest part, not being able to be part of this postseason run to compete for a championship? LaMarcus Aldridge: That was the hardest part. Being in a position to get to the Finals and have an opportunity to be on that stage and be a part of history and make my mark. I had never been to the Finals. I’ve been to the West Conference finals, but not the actual NBA Finals. So it was a chance for me to make that next step, a chance for me to add to my legacy and see what it feels like. I’ve always prided myself on embracing moments and trying to grow and learn from every moment. I wanted to get there and see what it’s like, help those guys win and be a part of the journey. And then if we got there, hopefully we would go back two or three more times. So that was definitely the hardest part for me.

Chris Bosh: Like everyone else who pays attention to basketball, I was shocked this week at the news that LaMarcus Aldridge was retiring. Over fifteen lights-out seasons in the NBA, LaMarcus became a seven-time All-Star, with a fadeaway jumper you just had to admire, even if he was draining it in your face. But he also became the kind of player you could develop a relationship with from the stands or through the TV: a big man who could run the court and put up big numbers on both sides of the ball—and never let his head get too big about it.

Chris Bosh: Over the last chapter of his career, LaMarcus was dealing on and off with a medical condition: an irregular heartbeat. “For 15 years, I’ve put basketball first,” he wrote in the letter announcing his retirement. “Now, it is time to put my health and family first.” It’s a tough decision to make, let alone in the middle of the season. In fact, I can’t even say it’s the one I would’ve made. I tried to keep playing even after I found out about the medical condition that led to my own retirement. It takes some nerve to risk your life to play ball, sure—but it takes real bravery to set that aside because you have a family to look out for.

Chris Bosh: That’s the choice LaMarcus made. And I’d say it requires a different kind of thinking than most pros are used to. Just take a look at the superteam he left: KD. Kyrie. Blake Griffin. Not every player could convince himself to leave a championship contending squad like that. But sometimes, the best decision isn’t the easiest one to make—that’s what I texted him the other day. And the mark of any good player or leader—hell, any good man—is the ability to act for the greater good of your team. In this case, that team was LaMarcus’ family.

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.

LaMarcus Aldridge announces retirement

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: 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.
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