Thursday, September 16News That Matters

LaMarcus Aldridge Unexpectedly Retires, Citing Heart Issue

LaMarcus Aldridge, a seven-time All-Star center who recently signed with the Nets, unexpectedly announced his retirement on Thursday, saying he experienced an irregular heartbeat during a game last week.

Aldridge, 35, has dealt with heart-related issues during his 15 seasons in the N.B.A. and has a condition that causes a rapid heartbeat. He played his last game on Saturday, a 126-101 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in Brooklyn.

“My last game, I played while dealing with an irregular heartbeat,” Aldridge said in a statement released on social media. “Later on that night, my rhythm got even worse which really worried me even more.” He said he went to a hospital the next day to get checked.

“Though I’m better now, what I felt with my heart that night was still one of the scariest things I’ve experienced,” Aldridge wrote. “With that being said, I’ve made the difficult decision to retire from the N.B.A. For 15 years, I’ve put basketball first, and now, it is time to put my health and family first.”

After the Lakers game, during which he had 12 points, 3 rebounds and 3 blocks, he took responsibility for the Nets’ loss. “It starts with me,” he told reporters. “I started out kind of passive tonight. I think that was kind of contagious for everyone else. It was hard for me to get going tonight, but no excuses.”

Aldridge, who was signed at the end of March, was the latest of many marquee additions to the Nets in recent years and was expected to be a role player for a team with championship aspirations. In five games with the Nets, he averaged 12.8 points and 4.8 rebounds on 52.1 percent shooting.

“The Nets organization fully supports LaMarcus’s decision, and while we value what he has brought to our team during his short time in Brooklyn, his health and well-being are far more important than the game of basketball,” Sean Marks, the Nets’ general manager, said in a statement after Aldridge’s announcement. “We know this was not an easy decision for him, but after careful consideration and consultation with numerous medical experts, he made the best decision for him, his family and for his life after basketball.”

In his rookie year, Aldridge learned he has Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, a condition that causes a rapid heartbeat. He missed the end of the season as a result. He occasionally missed games over the years because of an irregular heartbeat.

Aldridge was drafted with the second overall pick in 2006 by the Chicago Bulls and immediately traded to the Portland Trail Blazers. In his second season, Aldridge was a full-time starter and quickly established himself as one of the best big men in the league, particularly because of his shooting ability. He spent nine seasons with the Trail Blazers and then signed with the San Antonio Spurs. Aldridge is particularly beloved in Portland for helping the team win a playoff series in 2014, which was the franchise’s first series win since 2000.

His career averages of 19.4 points and 8.2 rebounds in 1,029 games will make him a candidate for the Basketball Hall of Fame. He made two All-N.B.A. second teams and three All-N.B.A. third teams.

In his statement, Aldridge thanked the Trail Blazers for “drafting a skinny Texas kid and giving him a chance,” the Spurs for “letting me into the family” and the Nets for “wanting me for me.”

“You never know when something will come to an end, so make sure you enjoy it every day,” Aldridge said. “I can truly say I did just that.”