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LaMarcus Aldridge Retires from NBA After 15 Years Because of Irregular Heartbeat

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVApril 15, 2021

Elsa/Getty Images

Seven-time All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge has retired from the NBA because of issues that stem from an irregular heartbeat.

LaMarcus Aldridge @aldridge_12

pic.twitter.com/q69S0VhdFf

In his announcement Thursday, Aldridge said he played during the team's 126-101 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on April 10 "while dealing with an irregular heartbeat."

"Though I'm better now, what I felt with my heart that night was still one of the scariest things I've experienced," he said.

Nets general manager Sean Marks said in a statement that the team "fully supports LaMarcus' decision":

Brooklyn Nets @BrooklynNets

Statement from our GM Sean Marks on the retirement of LaMarcus Aldridge: pic.twitter.com/3WKRJgAmpn

San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich issued a statement as well, noting the organization was "grateful" for Aldridge's contributions:

Marc J. Spears @MarcJSpears

Spurs Statement on LaMarcus Aldridge pic.twitter.com/CpvZr2tk5l

 Aldridge was limited to 63 games as a rookie in 2006-07 after suffering from dizziness and a rapid heartbeat during a game against the Los Angeles Clippers. Doctors diagnosed him with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome.

According to the Mayo Clinic, the condition is "fairly rare" and is caused by "an extra electrical pathway" in the heart that can lead to a more rapid heartbeat.

Despite the diagnosis, Aldridge enjoyed a 15-year career and rarely experienced any major health issues. A minor heart arrhythmia briefly sidelined him in 2017.

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In his prime, the 35-year-old was one of the NBA's premier power forwards. Sportsnet noted he's one of 14 players in league history with at least 19,000 points, 8,000 rebounds, 2,000 assists and 1,000 blocks. He's third in Portland Trail Blazers history in points (12,562) and first in rebounds (5,434).

When injuries derailed the career of Brandon Roy, Aldridge was the bridge until the Blazers could return to relevancy with Damian Lillard.

Aldridge retires having averaged 19.4 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game. While he expanded his offensive repertoire in recent seasons, he remained a bit of a throwback by doing most of his damage from mid-range.

Zach Lowe @ZachLowe_NBA

7-time All-Star, retires with 19,951 career regular-season points. Anyone who has been a fan of the NBA for the last 15 years can close their eyes and see LA operating in his office on the left block. Enjoy that family time, stay healthy, will miss watching you play. https://t.co/rM5SU6r6lE

Signing with the Nets allowed him to chase the championship that had eluded him with the Blazers and Spurs. A title appears to be well within reach for Brooklyn, which is one game behind the Philadelphia 76ers for first place in the Eastern Conference.

However, Aldridge will be unable to join the Nets in their quest for the NBA Finals.

A place in the Hall of Fame could be waiting for the 6'11" big man. In addition to his seven All-Star appearances, he was an All-NBA player on five occasions and made nine trips to the postseason.

His HOF candidacy might be a toss-up. Basketball Reference puts his probability at 50.9 percent based on his production and achievements on the court.

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