LaMarcus Aldridge (Part 1)

12 Mar 2024

LaMarcus Aldridge (Part 1)

LaMarcus Nurae Aldridge, born on July 19, 1985, is a former American professional basketball player who made a name for himself during his career. Aldridge played college basketball for two seasons with the Texas Longhorns before being selected as the second overall pick in the 2006 NBA draft. He spent the first nine seasons of his NBA career with the Portland Trail Blazers, showcasing his skills and becoming one of the league's premier power forwards.
In 2015, Aldridge made a significant move by signing with the San Antonio Spurs, a team renowned for its success and culture of excellence. During his tenure with the Spurs, Aldridge continued to demonstrate his versatility and talent on the court, contributing to the team's competitiveness in the Western Conference.

However, in March 2021, Aldridge's career took an unexpected turn when the Spurs bought out his contract, allowing him to sign with the Brooklyn Nets. Unfortunately, Aldridge's time with the Nets was short-lived as he announced his retirement just two weeks later due to concerns over an irregular heartbeat, prioritizing his health and well-being above his basketball career.
Despite his retirement, Aldridge's passion for the game persisted, and after receiving medical clearance, he made a surprising comeback to the Nets for the following season, eager to contribute to the team's success in any capacity possible. Throughout his career, Aldridge left a lasting impact on the basketball world with his skills, leadership, and resilience in overcoming challenges both on and off the court.

LaMarcus Aldridge's childhood was marked by the challenges of his parents' divorce when he was in the fifth grade. Raised by his mother, who worked for an insurance company, Aldridge learned resilience and determination from an early age. Despite the difficulties at home, Aldridge found solace and purpose on the basketball court.
Growing up in Dallas, Aldridge spent countless hours playing basketball with his older brother at local parks. Despite his towering height of 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) as an eighth-grader, Aldridge was initially seen as "the tall kid who couldn't play." However, his potential was recognized by Robert Allen, the head basketball coach at Seagoville High School. Allen saw Aldridge's height as an asset and recruited him to join the school's basketball team, setting the stage for Aldridge's journey into competitive basketball.

LaMarcus Aldridge enrolled at the University of Texas at Austin, where he played college basketball for two seasons. In 2004, he initially declared for the NBA draft but opted to withdraw his name, choosing instead to continue his collegiate career.
Aldridge's decision to attend college was reportedly influenced by advice from NBA star Shaquille O'Neal, who suggested that he should pursue higher education before evaluating his NBA prospects. Despite this initial decision, Aldridge ultimately decided to forego his remaining college eligibility after his second year with the Longhorns. In April 2006, he announced his intention to enter the 2006 NBA draft, officially beginning his professional basketball journey.

LaMarcus Aldridge was selected second overall in the 2006 NBA draft by the Chicago Bulls, but his draft rights were quickly traded to the Portland Trail Blazers in exchange for Tyrus Thomas and Viktor Khryapa. This trade was part of a larger deal that originated from the New York Knicks' trade involving Eddy Curry in 2005.

In his rookie season with the Trail Blazers, Aldridge missed the first seven games due to offseason shoulder surgery. However, he returned earlier than expected, partly due to a teammate's injury, and made an immediate impact on offense. Aldridge averaged 8.4 points on 54% shooting from the field in his first 14 games. Following the season-ending knee surgery of starting center Joel Przybilla in February 2007, Aldridge was promoted to the starting center position. He showcased significant improvement, averaging 14.7 points and 8.0 rebounds per game in the month of March. However, his season was cut short when he experienced shortness of breath and an irregular heartbeat during a game against the Los Angeles Clippers in March 2007. He was diagnosed with Wolff–Parkinson–White syndrome and subsequently missed the remaining eight games of the season.
Despite this setback, Aldridge's performance earned him a spot on the 2007 NBA All-Rookie First Team, alongside five other standout rookies. He tied for fifth place in the Rookie of the Year voting with Toronto Raptors player Jorge Garbajosa.


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