LaMarcus Aldridge is calling it a career.
The newly minted Brooklyn Nets power forward announced his retirement from the NBA after an illustrious 15-year career on Thursday morning via a letter posted to his Twitter account.
The 35-year-old veteran cited worries after he experienced what he called an irregular heartbeat in his last game, a 126-101 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, and later that night, experienced a worsening of the issue, which understandably put a scare in Aldridge.
“The next morning, I told the team what was going on and they were great getting me to the hospital,” Aldridge wrote in his letter. “Though I’m better now, what I felt with my heart that night was still one of the scariest things I’ve experienced.
“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.”
Aldridge had only recently signed with the Brooklyn Nets two weeks ago after having agreed to a buyout with the San Antonio Spurs a week prior to that. Aldridge was part of a coming together of stars in Brooklyn, with his arrival following those of James Harden via trade in January, and Blake Griffin via a buyout similar to Aldridge’s in March.
All of the new additions on top of a core that already included Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving saw them shoot up odds tables everywhere and despite Aldridge’s abrupt departure, they should remain atop most of the ones concerned with odds to win the NBA Championship. At 888sport, they remain the favorites, currently boasting +250 NBA odds.
Aldridge had clearly been enjoying his new digs and teammates based on the change in his play in the short sample of five games he got to play with Brooklyn. In 21 games in San Antonio this season, the Dallas native seemed miserable, averaging 13.7 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 0.9 blocks on a subpar 46/36/84 shooting line.
In his quintet of appearances with Brooklyn he was putting up 12.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.6 dimes, and 2.2 blocks on a stellar 52/80/100 shooting line. That included multiple blocks in four of five games as well as a vintage 22-point Aldridge gem during a rout of the New Orleans Pelicans in what turned out to be his penultimate game.
“I want to thank Brooklyn,” Adlridge wrote. “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.”
Brooklyn Nets general manager Sean Marks released a statement of support on Aldridge’s decision to hang ‘em up on Thursday as well.
“We know this was not an easy decision for him,” Marks said. “But after careful consideration and consultation with medical experts, he made the best decision for him, his family and for his life after basketball.”
After two years as a Texas Longhorn, Aldridge was drafted No. 2 overall by the Chicago Bulls in 2006 before a draft night trade saw him shipped to the Portland Trail Blazers, for whom he would play for the next nine seasons. He led the Blazers to five postseason appearances in his tenure, including one playoff series win.
Aldridge was named to the NBA All-Rookie team in his freshman campaign and went on to earn All-Star nods in each of his last four seasons in Portland, also playing his way to All-NBA Third Team honors twice.
“I thank Portland for drafting a skinny, Texas kid and giving him a chance,” Aldridge wrote. “The city of Portland has given me some unforgettable years. They will always remain in my heart.”
After leaving Portland, Aldridge signed on with the San Antonio Spurs in 2015, where he earned three more All-Star selections, a pair of All-NBA Second Team nods, and another All-NBA Third Team selection.
“I want to thank the Spurs for letting me into the family and giving me five fun years,” Aldridge said in his letter.