Ever since LaMarcus Aldridge announced his sudden retirement from basketball in April, fans have debated his place in the pantheon of Trail Blazer greats.
Is he in the top 10? Top 5? Does his decision to leave the team in 2015—reneging on his professed desire to become the best Blazer of all time—disqualify him from being mentioned among the franchise’s best players?
Or, perhaps, does he deserve to be immortalized among the greatest Blazers of all time and have his jersey hang from the rafters?
Apparently, the organization is thinking about it.
In the course of an interview with Aldridge published today by The Athletic, reporter Shams Charania lets slip that the Blazers have told him they will “look into” possibly retiring his No. 12 jersey in the offseason, a move supported by Aldridge’s former teammate, Damian Lillard.
“It’d be an honor, man,” Aldridge responded. “I have nothing but great memories there, great times there. That’s why I became who I am today as far as on court and off court. I became a man in that city and learned how to live on my own and develop into who I am today. So I would love for them to retire my number.”
In nine seasons with the Blazers, Aldridge averaged 19 points and eight rebounds per game. He remains the team’s all-time leading rebounder and ranks third in total points scored.
Elsewhere in the interview, Aldridge, who announced his retirement on April 15 following the discovery of an irregular heartbeat, discusses struggling with depression over the last month and a half, and the incident that led to his decision. He also talks about his six years with the San Antonio Spurs and his brief stint with the title-favorite Brooklyn Nets. And, of course, he discusses his time Portland, in which he admits feeling like he was constantly “on the back burner” during the Brandon Roy years. He says his only regret is not developing a stronger bond with Lillard.
“I just feel like I wish Dame and I would’ve talked more and tried to develop a better relationship,” Aldridge says. “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.”
By the way: Lillard then proceeded to notch 55 points and 10 assists in a double-overtime loss to Denver.
Read the full interview here.