LaMarcus Aldridge Announces Sudden Retirement From NBA After Heartbeat Scare

Gettyimages | Sarah Stier

Adam Zielonka

Brooklyn Nets forward LaMarcus Aldridge surprised the basketball world Thursday as he announced his retirement from the NBA.

Aldridge, 35, revealed he played Saturday in the Nets' game against the Los Angeles Lakers with an irregular heartbeat. The condition got worse before it returned to normal, and the ordeal appears to have given Aldridge a new perspective on life.

"For 15 years, I've put basketball first, and now, it is time to put my health and family first," Aldridge wrote on social media.

Aldridge Needed Hospital Care

Gettyimages | Jonathan Daniel

The Lakers beat the Nets in Brooklyn on Saturday, 126-101. Aldridge started at center for the Nets and contributed 12 points and three rebounds.

What the public didn't know at the time was that Aldridge was dealing with an irregular heart rhythm and doing his best to play through it.

Aldridge wrote that the condition worsened later that night after the game, so he informed the Nets, who assisted him in getting to a hospital to be checked out.

An Abrupt Announcement

Gettyimages | Sarah Stier

Aldridge did not play in the Nets' next two games with what the team only described as a "non-COVID-19 illness."

In his social media post, Aldridge explained that while he has since recovered, "what I felt with my heart that night was still one of the scariest things I've experienced."

It is rare for professional athletes to retire during a season, so Aldridge's announcement has some extra magnitude to it. He's saying goodbye to the NBA about a month before the playoffs begin.

His Role On The Nets' Super Team

Gettyimages | Gregory Shamus

Aldridge only played for Brooklyn for three weeks before his sudden retirement from the sport. A 14-year NBA veteran, Aldridge spent nine seasons with the Portland Trail Blazers and five-plus with the San Antonio Spurs.

He started this season with the Spurs, but in March he and the team agreed to part ways so Aldridge could seek a role with a championship contender. The Spurs bought out his contract, and on March 28 he signed with the Nets.

This year the Nets are anchored by a "big three" of superstars Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden. They've gone on to add Blake Griffin and Aldridge to the mix. Some people in NBA circles believed the Miami Heat were in the running to sign Aldridge and the Boston Celtics might have been another fit.

Basketball world wishes Aldridge the best

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The general manager of the Nets, Sean Marks, released a statement saying the team supported Aldridge in his retirement.

"We know this was not an easy decision for him, but after careful consideration and consultation with medical experts, he made the best decision for him, his family and for his life after basketball," Marks wrote.

Other NBA stars of past and present, including Isaiah Thomas and Jamal Crawford, took to social media to share their thoughts as well. Thomas called Aldridge a "Hall of fame career and even better person."

Aldridge thanked the Trail Blazers, Spurs and Nets for their roles in his career and said he was "sorry it didn't get to last long" in Brooklyn.

"You never know when something will come to an end, so make sure you enjoy it everyday," Aldridge wrote. "I can truly say I did just that."