Retired NBA big man LaMarcus Aldridge has admitted that leaving the game has been tough for him.
In fact, he recently noted that he’s been dealing with depression in the aftermath of retiring due to an irregular heartbeat.
Aldridge spoke to Shams Charania on a wide range of subjects, including his emotions in the wake of leaving the game of basketball.
“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,” Aldridge told The Athletic. “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. Even though I knew it was the right decision, those next couple days there was a lot of back and forth with my family, my agent, with the Nets, and they definitely supported me either way. They were upfront and I thought they were great with (saying): ‘This is on you; we don’t know how you felt and how you feel, so we’re going to follow your lead.’ I thought that was awesome of them. 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.”
While Aldridge’s production had declined from his peak years, he was still scoring in double digits and crashing the boards at age 35 when he retired.
However, the heart condition that led to his retirement forced him to take a closer look at his life and adapt to his new reality.
Aldridge’s admission of mental health issues continues what’s been a growing focus in recent years for NBA players. Both Kevin Love and Aldridge’s former San Antonio Spurs teammate DeMar DeRozan are among the most prominent players to publicly admit their issues in that area of health.
The fact that Aldridge is aware of such concerns is a good sign that he’s begun his post-career journey.