In his rookie year, Aldridge learned he has Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, a condition that causes a rapid heartbeat. He missed the end of the season as a result. He occasionally missed games over the years because of an irregular heartbeat.
Aldridge was drafted with the second overall pick in 2006 by the Chicago Bulls and immediately traded to the Portland Trail Blazers. In his second season, Aldridge was a full-time starter and quickly established himself as one of the best big men in the league, particularly because of his shooting ability. He spent nine seasons with the Trail Blazers and then signed with the San Antonio Spurs. Aldridge is particularly beloved in Portland for helping the team win a playoff series in 2014, which was the franchise’s first series win since 2000.
His career averages of 19.4 points and 8.2 rebounds in 1,029 games will make him a candidate for the Basketball Hall of Fame. He made two All-N.B.A. second teams and three All-N.B.A. third teams.
In his statement, Aldridge thanked the Trail Blazers for “drafting a skinny Texas kid and giving him a chance,” the Spurs for “letting me into the family” and the Nets for “wanting me for me.”
“You never know when something will come to an end, so make sure you enjoy it every day,” Aldridge said. “I can truly say I did just that.”