A sad piece of recent news from the NBA has been the sudden retirement of Brooklyn Nets centre LaMarcus Aldridge, who announced the shock decision on Twitter earlier this month, having experienced an irregular heartbeat during his final appearance with the team, a 126-101 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on April 11.
"For 15 years I've put basketball first," Aldridge wrote. "And now, it is time to put my health and family first." The 35-year-old added, "The next morning, I told the team what was going on and they were great getting me to the hospital. Though I'm better now, what I felt with my heart that night was still one of the scariest things I've experienced."
Aldridge had been on the books of the Nets since late March after agreeing to a buyout with the San Antonio Spurs he had spent the previous five and a half seasons with the Texas franchise. A seven-time All-Star, Aldridge spent the first nine years of his career with the Portland Trail Blazers.
San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich called Aldridge a "consummate professional with a unique skill set and a deep respect for the game”. He added, "We're grateful for his contributions, both on and off the court, during his time here in San Antonio. I'm proud of him for making this difficult decision and we wish him and his family all of the best in the future."
Former Trailblazers teammate Damian Lillard said he was "shocked" by Aldridge's retirement, but is happy that the player took a decision which put his health first. "I think in a situation like this basketball is the least of his concerns and everyone else's concern," said Lillard. "So I'm sure it was a tough decision for him, but I'm glad he made the decision in the best interest of him and his family."
Nets general manager Sean Marks said the team fully supports Aldridge's decision to retire: "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.”
You can catch the Nets playing on without Aldridge twice this week, as they first host the Portland Trail Blazers on the morning of Saturday 1 May (12am LIVE on ESPN 2), before visiting the Milwaukee Bucks on the evening of Sunday 2 May (7:30pm LIVE on ESPN 2). Visit www.dstv.com to subscribe or upgrade, and join in on the excitement. And while you’re on the move, you can stream the action on the DStv App.
NBA match broadcast details
Saturday 1 May
12:00am: NBA Season, Brooklyn Nets v Portland Trail Blazers – LIVE on ESPN 2
Sunday 2 May
7:30pm: NBA Season, Milwaukee Bucks v Brooklyn Nets – LIVE on ESPN 2
Monday 3 May
11:30pm: NBA Season, Boston Celtics v Portland Trail Blazers – LIVE on ESPN 2