LaMarcus Aldridge’s career came to an abrupt ending on Thursday afternoon when he announced his retirement. In his announcement, Aldridge stated he was experiencing an irregular heartbeat in his final game. Aldridge is stepping away from the game at 35 years old, but we won’t forget his legacy anytime soon.
Breaking: LaMarcus Aldridge is retiring from the NBA, writing on social media that he played his last game with an irregular heartbeat.
"For 15 years, I've put basketball first and now, it's time to put my health and family first." pic.twitter.com/Iy9NO34NZG
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 15, 2021
Looking back on LaMarcus Aldridge’s career, he will be remembered mostly for his time with the Portland Trailblazers. The Blazers drafted Aldridge in 2006 with the 2nd overall pick. Portland also drafted Brandon Roy with the 6th overall pick in the same draft. This was during a bad time in Portland. In the season before this draft, Portland only won 21 games. The 2006 draft changed it all. Brandon Roy would go on to win Rookie of the Year. Aldridge was fitting in perfectly in the NBA. It only took the Trail Blazers 2 years to make the playoffs. Portland would go on to make the playoffs for three straight years before injuries began to break the team apart.
With Brandon Roy and Greg Oden both having their careers shortened due to injury, LaMarcus Aldridge was left to rebuild. This is when Damian Lillard came into play. In 2014, Lillard and Aldridge led the Blazers to their first playoff series win in 14 years on one of the best shots in NBA history.
May 2, 2014: Down two with 0.9 seconds left, Portland’s Damian Lillard (@Dame_Lillard) drains a buzzer beater to beat the Rockets in Game 6 of the first round of the NBA Playoffs and win the series. pic.twitter.com/9ahefNYbx2
— This Day In Sports Clips (@TDISportsClips) May 2, 2020
Since then, the Blazers have been a force in the NBA. Portland has made the playoffs every season since then and has even made it all the way to the Western Conference Finals. Aldridge signed with the Spurs in 2015 and continued his playoff success in San Antonio. Even though LaMarcus Aldridge never won a ring, his presence in the playoffs was unlike most others.
The San Antonio Spurs were already a good team before the signing of LaMarcus Aldridge. With Aldridge, they became very tough to beat. The Spurs won a franchise-record 67 games in Aldridge’s first season. Even though San Antonio was cruising in the regular season, they ran into a brick wall in the playoffs. This was during Golden State’s insane stretch, including their 73-9 season. Aldridge was a great addition, but he wasn’t enough to get them to the Finals. Aldridge was bought out by the Spurs earlier this season and agreed to a deal with the Brooklyn Nets.
LaMarcus Aldridge had a great all-around career and his statistics show that. Aldridge averaged 19.4 points and 8.2 rebounds over his 1,029 career games in the NBA. In 2013, LaMarcus Aldridge scored 46 points in Game 1 of a playoff series against the Houston Rockets. Even though that was his career-high in the playoffs, it was not his overall career-high. In 2018, Aldridge scored his career-high 56 points in a double-overtime thriller. Throughout his career, LaMarcus made 7 All-Star games and was named to 5 All-NBA teams. LaMarcus Aldridge’s statistics show that his legacy should not be overlooked.
LaMarcus Aldridge Appreciation Post
7 x NBA All-Star
5 x All-NBA
Blazers all-time rebound leader
LeBron & Melo are the only active players with more 2-PT field goals pic.twitter.com/PxTdlANkoi
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) April 15, 2021
Overall, it is difficult to tell if LaMarcus Aldridge will make the NBA Hall of Fame or not. His career statistics show he should get in, but his lack of playoff success is hard to look past. Personally, I believe Aldridge should be in the Hall of Fame. Not only was he a major impact player in almost every game, but he also changed the city of Portland forever.
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