NBA's LaMarcus Aldridge Battling Depression In Retirement, 'Trying To Find Myself'
NBA's LaMarcus AldridgeBattling Depression In Retirement'Trying To Find Myself'
6/1/2021 8:56 AM PT
Ex-NBA star LaMarcus Aldridge says he's struggling in his post-basketball life ... admitting he's been depressed since abruptly retiring due to a health condition.
Remember, 35-year-old Aldridge walked away from the sport back in April ... after a health scare involving his heart following a game against the L.A. Lakers.
As it turns out, the 7-time All-Star played his entire 15-year career with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, which causes a rapid heartbeat.
Aldridge says he learned about the condition back in 2006 but was able to play a decade and a half without any major issues. However, after his "scary night" against the Lakers, he realized it was time to retire.
"My heart was beating different or as weird as it has ever been before. I never experienced how slow, fast … it was just crazy how it was going that night," Aldridge told The Athletic's Shams Charania.
"Basically, that night being so freaked out -- and knowing I have kids, my mom, a lot of people depending on me and a lot of people that I want to see going forward -- I just felt like I was blessed by God to play 15 years with this condition, and I didn’t want to push it anymore."
Aldridge says he's had a tough time adjusting to life away from basketball ... which has taken a toll on his mental health.
"I’ve been depressed, and I’m trying to figure out how to navigate through not competing on the floor, learning not to be depressed."
"I still love basketball. I still feel like I have a lot to give. But, even now, I’m still trying to find myself. When you go from doing something you love for so long and you lose it overnight, it’s a shock."
Despite the hardships he's faced, Aldridge says he knew he made the right decision ... and the Brooklyn Nets and his teammate Kevin Durant were supportive in his choice.
"I never felt any pressure to come back or make a decision based on the season. It was always: We fully understand what you’re going through, and so if this is what you want to do, you have our support."
Aldridge was the #2 overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft ... and spent the majority of his career with the Portland Trail Blazers and San Antonio Spurs before joining the Nets in 2021. He finished his career with nearly 20,000 points and 8,500 rebounds.