Power forward LaMarcus Aldridge abruptly retired April 15, just a few weeks after signing with the Nets, and has now explained the reasons for the decision.
Aldridge had suffered an irregular heartbeat scare, and as he told The Athletic’s Shams Charania in a wide-ranging interview, walking away from the NBA just made sense.
“I had a weird game against the Lakers, my heart was just beating weird and out of rhythm. I had irregular rhythm the whole game, and I hadn’t experienced that before,” Aldridge said. “Normally when I get on the court, my case study is that I would go into regular rhythm as I got my heart rate up. It had never been out of rhythm in a game and then it was out of rhythm for the Lakers game and I was just off and couldn’t get no energy. I couldn’t figure out what was going on.
“… It was still off after the game, but at like 2, 3 in the morning, it got really, really crazy. My heart was beating really crazy, and that’s when it got really bad for me. From two to five in the morning, I was just trying to evoke some breathing and then around 5:30 or so, I texted the team doctor and I went to the hospital. It was probably the scariest night ever.”
Aldridge, 35, appeared in just five games with the Nets following a late-March contract buyout with the Spurs.
“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,” he told Charania. “Basically, that night being so freaked out — and knowing I have kids, my mom, a lot of people depending on me and a lot of people that I want to see going forward — I just felt like I was blessed by God to play 15 years with this condition, and I didn’t want to push it anymore.”
Aldridge was drafted by the Bulls with second overall pick in 2006, but was immediately traded to the Trail Blazers for their pick, Tyrus Thomas, and as well as Viktor Khryapa. Aldridge spent nine years with the Blazers before signing with the Spurs in the summer of 2015.
He compiled career averages of 19.4 points and 8.2 rebounds, averaging 18.9 and 7.4, respectively, in 2019-20.
Aldridge said not playing has been an adjustment, admitting that is can at times be a difficult one.
“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. I still love basketball,” he said. “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.”