LaMarcus Aldridge has announced his immediate retirement after experiencing a health scare in what turned out to be his final NBA game.
Aldridge revealed that he played against the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday while dealing with an irregular heartbeat – an issue that became worse following the 126-101 defeat for the Brooklyn Nets.
The seven-time All-Star was listed as out due to a non-COVID-related illness for the Nets' next two outings in the regular season, against the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Philadelphia 76ers.
Now the full extent of the issue has been revealed by the 35-year-old in a statement posted on social media, during which he made clear the time has come to put his health – and also his family – first.
"Today, I write this letter with a heavy heart. My last game, I played while dealing with an irregular heartbeat. Later on that night, my rhythm got even worse, which really worried me even more," Aldridge explained.
"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.
"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 joined the Nets at the end of March as a free agent, averaging 12.8 points in five games after agreeing a contract buyout with the San Antonio Spurs.
However, the second overall pick by the Chicago Bulls in the 2006 draft spent the majority of his career with the Portland Trail Blazers, scoring 12,562 points to sit third on the franchise's all-time list.
Signed by the Spurs ahead of the 2015-16 season, Aldridge helped San Antonio reach the Western Conference Finals in 2017, though they were swept by the Golden State Warriors in that series.
"I'm thankful for everything this game has given me: the great memories, including all the ups and downs, and the friendships I've made and will keep with me forever," Aldridge continued.
"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 five 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 every day. I can truly say I did just that."
Aldridge played in 1,029 NBA games and finishes up averaging 19.4 points and 8.2 rebounds.