Brooklyn Nets forward LaMarcus Aldridge is retiring from basketball after a fantastic 15-year career in the NBA. According to Aldridge himself, he played his last game (April 10th) 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,” wrote Aldridge.
— LaMarcus Aldridge (@aldridge_12) April 15, 2021
Aldridge also said after 15 years of putting basketball ahead of everything else, it’s time to put his health and family first.
LaMarcus Aldridge Retiring After 15-Year Career
A Successful College Career and Onto the Pros
Aldridge enjoyed two great seasons at the University of Texas. During his sophomore year, he averaged 15 points, 9 rebounds, and 2 blocks per game.
He entered the 2006 NBA Draft with plenty of hype and was drafted second overall by the Chicago Bulls. A few minutes later, however, he was traded to the Portland Trail Blazers. That’s where his illustrious NBA career began.
A Skinny Kid in the Rose City
“I thank Portland for drafting a skinny, Texas kid and giving him a chance,” Aldridge said. Although this is true, Portland knew exactly what they were getting with him – a perennial All-Star and one of the top power forwards of the last generation.
Aldridge’s rookie year was solid, averaging 9 points and 5 rebounds per game in 22 minutes on the floor. After that, however, his numbers went up every single year. His jump to his sophomore season was very impressive, as he nearly doubled his scoring average.
His best season in Portland was actually his last, in 2014-15. Aldridge averaged 23.4 points, 10.2 rebounds, and a block per game. He was part of some fantastic Trail Blazer teams, including the likes of Brandon Roy, Nicolas Batum, Andre Miller, Gerald Wallace, Marcus Camby, and Wesley Matthews.
LaMarcus Aldridge Comes Back Home
After the 2014-15 season, Aldridge decided to come back home to Texas and join the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs, in the midst of their dynasty, had their historic big three of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili, as well as superstar Kawhi Leonard. They also won the NBA championship a couple of seasons before.
Aldridge was part of some stellar runs, but the Golden State Warriors were simply too much to handle during the time. With that being said, Aldridge’s Spurs were definitely the second-best team in the West during his first couple of seasons there.
His best season with the Spurs came in 2017-18, where he averaged 23.1 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks per game. While in San Antonio, Aldridge also expanded his game to behind the three-point line. With that being said, he’ll always be known for his inside prowess and his fantastic midrange game.
The Spurs began to falter when Leonard was traded to the Toronto Raptors, but Aldridge remained one of the team’s top players and leaders.
This Season in Brooklyn
Aldridge signed with Brooklyn after being bought out post-traded deadline. He joined a Nets roster with stars like Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving. He brought frontcourt help and joined other veterans such as DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin.
Brooklyn, still a championship favorite, will miss Aldridge. Health and family always come first, however.
Aldridge finishes a fantastic career today. He’s going down, however, as one of the top forwards of this generation.
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