Aldridge spent 15 amazing seasons in the NBA, consistently ranking as one of the best players in the league. While never outwardly flashy, the former Portland Trail Blazers and San Antonio Spurs star racked up the accolades, tallying seven All-Star selections and five All-NBA appearances. But the one thing that eluded him was a coveted championship ring, an achievement that felt within reach as he joined the Nets before he had to retire.
The big man spoke out about the emotional moment he told his Nets teammates about his departure from the team. The first guy he talked to was Kevin Durant, the man who was responsible for recruiting him to Brooklyn in the first place.
“I talked to Kevin (Durant) right away, I wanted to give him the respect because when I hit the waiver market when I got my buyout, he was the first guy to hit me. So I felt like I wanted to hit him first, because he was owed that. And I think he was more in shock in the beginning because he didn’t really believe or understand what I was saying. And then we talked again. I felt like those guys were really excited to have me. So I didn’t get emotional on the phone, but afterwards I was a little emotional,” the Nets star told The Athletic.
“Every time you say, ‘Hey, I’m retired’ to someone, when it just happened, I would definitely get emotional. I’m still trying to figure out ways to be happy now. I definitely was depressed and was trying to figure out how to bounce back from it, because it was so dramatic that I didn’t know how to re-find myself.”
Aldridge also detailed the tough conversation he had with fellow midseason Nets recruit, James Harden. The Beard was clearly stunned, as he initially didn't understand the gravity of LaMarcus' reveal to him:
“I talked to James (Harden) also; he just wanted to know what happened. I was like, ‘You remember I kept saying I can’t get my body going?’ He’s like: ‘Yeah, I thought you meant rhythm, like shooting?’ I said: ‘Nah, like my heart.’ He said: ‘Man, I didn’t know that.’”
Losing LaMarcus Aldridge from the league before he was ready is tough, especially because he definitely had some productive seasons left in him. But at the end of the day, his health remains most important. Hopefully if the Brooklyn Nets win the title, they send him his ring anyways. That's probably a safe bet.