When LaMarcus Aldridge announced he is retiring in the middle of the season, the NBA world was stunned and in shock, as the 35-year old big man was finding his groove with the Brooklyn Nets and looking like a big part of a potential championship team. But due to a heart condition that caused Aldrige to have irregular heartbeats, LaMarcus was forced to call it a career and abruptly exit the world of basketball. It was tough for LaMarcus, as the 7x All-Star felt he still had a lot left to give, but Aldrige did what was necessary and safe for him and his family.
In a sitdown with Shams Charania of The Athletic, Aldridge opened up and talked about various topics, from his last game, and the night after that he described as “the scariest night of his life” to the reflection of his remarkable career. LaMarcus was at peace, knowing he gave it his all, but still shared how he had only one regret in his career. And that was his relationship with Damian Lillard.
“I just feel like I wish Dame and I would’ve talked more and tried to develop a better relationship. Part of it was he was young, trying to find his way, and I had worked so hard to get to this spot I was at. I wish I would have worked harder … the only regret I have is I wish I would have worked harder to have a relationship with Dame.”LaMarcus Aldrige, The Athletic
The two played just three seasons together and never managed to make a significant leap into contenders. But that was mainly because Dame was a young prospect finding his way in the NBA at the time, while Aldrige was already an established player in the league. So the timing was off, as the two never managed to build that one-two punch. Moreover, the fact Dame was becoming a star and fan-favorite rubbed Aldrige the wrong way. He always had a reputation of being a diva.
Even though they didn’t achieve too much success together, Lillard still has massive respect for Aldridge, as he has been advocating for the Blazers to retire his No.12 jersey. Lamarcus heard all about it, as he is very grateful to his former teammate:
“First of all, Dame is a real one. Everyone already knew that. I knew it. But I want to go on the record and say he’s a real one for how he advocated for that right away. He didn’t have to do that, it doesn’t do any value for him to fight for that. But it just shows how real he is and how he appreciates what I’ve done there in my time.”LaMarcus Aldrige, The Athletic
Aldridge himself said it would be a tremendous honor to have his number retired, as that would immortalize his name in Blazers history, and well deservingly. However, it is just a shame for Blazers fans, who have missed out on so many potential championship teams in their past due to draft mistakes and injuries, that they never had a prime duo of Dame and LA running things in Portland.