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5 NBA players who retired due to life-threatening conditions: LaMarcus Aldridge, Magic Johnson, and more

LaMarcus Aldridge with the San Antonio Spurs.
LaMarcus Aldridge with the San Antonio Spurs.

Brooklyn Nets center LaMarcus Aldridge announced his retirement from the NBA earlier today. The decision was made due to health concerns.

In a social media post, the big man revealed that he played his final NBA game on April 10th with an irregular heartbeat. The 35-year-old added that he will now focus on his family and health.

LaMarcus Aldridge's shocking retirement and other players who left the NBA due to health reasons

LaMarcus Aldridge played 15 seasons in the NBA. He was an All-Star on seven occasions and earned five All-NBA selections throughout his career. He played for the Portland Trail Blazers (2007 to 2015), the San Antonio Spurs (2015-2021), and the Brooklyn Nets (since March 28th, 2021).

In this article, we will look at five NBA athletes who retired due to life-threatening conditions.


#5 Dajuan Wagner

Dajuan Wagenr with the Cleveland Cavaliers
Dajuan Wagenr with the Cleveland Cavaliers

Dajuan Wagner entered the NBA after getting picked in sixth place in the 2002 NBA Draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers. He was a hyped player coming out of Memphis, and the Cavs' hopes were put on his shoulders a year before LeBron James came into the league.

Wagner's career was unfortunately cut short by a disease. He played 91 games in his first two seasons in the NBA and averaged 10.1 points per game in that span. He only played 11 games in the 2004-05 season before being hospitalized for ulcerative colitis.

In 2005, Wagner had surgery in which half of his colon was removed. He tried to return to the NBA but only played one game with the Golden State Warriors (2006-07 season) before retiring permanently.


#4 Cuttino Mobley

Cuttino Mobley #5 speaks at a press conference during week nine of the BIG3 three-on-three basketball league
Cuttino Mobley #5 speaks at a press conference during week nine of the BIG3 three-on-three basketball league

Cuttino Mobley was a guard who came out of Rhode Island and entered the NBA in 1998 with the Houston Rockets.

Mobley was a second-round pick in the 1998 NBA Draft and played with the Rockets until 2004, averaging 17 points per game.

He later played with the Orlando Magic and the Sacramento Kings but shockingly retired in 2008 due to a heart condition (hypertrophic cardiomyopathy). The problem after a physical exam when he was traded to the New York Knicks.

Mobley retired after playing 11 NBA seasons and averaged 16 points and 3.9 rebounds per game, with 43/38/84 shooting splits.


#3 LaMarcus Aldridge

LaMarcus Aldridge with the Brooklyn Nets in 2021
LaMarcus Aldridge with the Brooklyn Nets in 2021

LaMarcus Aldridge's shocking retirement came after he revealed he had an irregular heartbeat in the Brooklyn Nets' game against the LA Lakers on April 10th.

The 35-year-old center enjoyed a successful campaign in the NBA from 2006 to 2021, with seven All-Star Game appearances and five All-NBA selections.

The health issues he suffered during his rookie year were attributed to Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome. He also underwent surgery before the 2011-12 season to check the electrical system in his heart.

Aldridge averaged 19.4 points and 8.2 rebounds per game throughout his entire career while also making 49% of his field goals and 81% of his free throws.

This year, Aldridge averaged 13.5 points and 4.5 rebounds with the San Antonio Spurs (21 games) and the Brooklyn Nets (5 games).


#2 Chris Bosh

Former NBA player Chris Bosh looks on prior to Game Three of the 2019 NBA Finals
Former NBA player Chris Bosh looks on prior to Game Three of the 2019 NBA Finals

Chris Bosh entered the league as the fifth pick of the celebrated 2003 NBA Draft. He went on to become an All-Star with the Toronto Raptors and a two-time NBA champion with the 'Big Three' Miami Heat.

Bosh, who is a Hall-of-Fame finalist in the 2021 class, had to retire from the NBA due to health concerns created by blood clots.

He initially missed the second half of the 2014-15 NBA season after being diagnosed with a blood clot in his lungs before the 2015 All-Star Game. Though he returned to play in the 2015-16 season for a brief period, he stopped when a blood clot in his calf raised more concerns.

Bosh, an 11-time All-Star, announced his official retirement on February 2nd, 2019.


#1 Magic Johnson

Magic Johnson speaks to the crowd before the 69th NBA All-Star Game at the United Center on February 16, 2020
Magic Johnson speaks to the crowd before the 69th NBA All-Star Game at the United Center on February 16, 2020

Magic Johnson had a legendary NBA career from the moment he stepped on a pro basketball court in 1979. He led the LA Lakers to the NBA championship as a rookie and earned Finals MVP recognition in 1980. He then led four more title-winning campaigns, earning three regular-season MVPs and two Finals MVPs.

After the LA Lakers fell in the 1991 NBA Finals to the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls, Johnson announced that he had tested positive for HIV and stopped his career immediately.

He returned to play in the 1992 All-Star Game and the 1992 Olympics. He also played 32 games in the 1995-96 NBA campaign before leaving basketball at 36 years of age.

Johnson was a 12-time All-Star and earned 10 All-NBA selections in his career.


Also read: Brooklyn Nets' LaMarcus Aldridge announces shock retirement from NBA due to health issues

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Edited by Rachel Syiemlieh
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