LaMarcus Aldridge retired from the NBA on Thursday after saying he experienced an irregular heartbeat during his final game with the Brooklyn Nets. Aldridge, 35, posted a statement on social media saying the heart concerns he had during and after Brooklyn’s loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday were one of the “scariest things” he’s experienced. Aldridge, who was diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome — an abnormality that can cause a rapid heartbeat — as a rookie in 2007, said he feels better now after getting it checked out but nevertheless decided to end his 15-year career. The seven-time All-Star signed with the Nets on March 28 and he had become their starting center. He missed the last two games with what the team had called a non-COVID-19 illness. Nets general manager Sean Marks said the team fully supported Aldridge’s decision.
Michael Jordan to present Kobe Bryant at posthumous Hall of Fame induction
Michael Jordan will serve as the official presenter during Kobe Bryant’s posthumous induction into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame next month. The Hall announced the plan Thursday, noting that all inductees are presented by a current Hall member of their choice. For posthumous inductions like Bryant’s, family members select the presenters. Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett, the other two NBA headliners of the 2020 class, will be presented by David Robinson and Isiah Thomas, respectively. Duncan and Robinson were teammates on the San Antonio Spurs, pairing to win titles in 1999 and 2003. Bryant, Duncan and Garnett were all first-ballot selections. Jordan spoke at Bryant’s public memorial in Feb. 2020 following the tragic helicopter crash that killed the Los Angeles Lakers star, his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven other passengers.
Browns join NFL teams saying they’ll skip offseason workouts
Following the guidance and advice of Browns center and NFL Players Association President JC Tretter, Cleveland’s players joined a growing list of teams vowing to skip voluntary in-person workouts this offseason. The Browns followed the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Denver Broncos, Seattle Seahawks, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, New England Patriots, and New York Giants in saying they’ll exercise their collectively bargained rights not to take part in the workouts, which were scheduled to begin next week. On Wednesday, the league issued a memo to all 32 teams announcing that the first four weeks of the voluntary program will be virtual before transitioning to in person at the team’s respective training facilities... The Las Vegas Raiders cut two members of Jon Gruden’s first draft class in his second stint as coach, waiving defensive linemen Maurice Hurst and Arden Key. Hurst is a Canton, Mass. native and graduated from Xaverian Brothers High School in Westwood. Hurst had a half-sack and 27 tackles in 11 games last season. He missed time with ankle and knee injuries, as well as one game on the COVID-19 list, playing only 25 percent of the defensive snaps in 2020.
NHL delays Canucks’ return to play after COVID-19 outbreak
The NHL has delayed the Vancouver Canucks’ return to competition. The Canucks, who have not played a game since March 24 due to a COVID-19 outbreak, had been scheduled to host the Edmonton Oilers on Friday night. The league announced Thursday the team would not play that game and did not immediately set a new date for Vancouver’s return. The decision was made with input from the NHL Players’ Association and medical staff from teams, the NHL said. Before the league made the announcement, Vancouver forward J.T. Miller said it would be “very challenging and not very safe” to play Friday night because the pandemic-hit team has not had enough time to recover and get back in shape. The Canucks did not allow the media to attend practice Thursday, their first practice since the outbreak. At least 21 players and four members of the coaching staff have tested positive for the coronavirus since March 30.
Top-ranked Djokovic loses, No. 3 Nadal eases into quarters
Top-ranked Novak Djokovic lost 6-4, 7-5 to Dan Evans on Thursday in the third round of the Monte Carlo Masters for his first defeat of the year. No. 3 Rafael Nadal had no such problems, breezing past Grigor Dimitrov 6-1, 6-1 to reach the quarterfinals of a tournament he has won a record 11 times. It was an unusually sloppy performance from Djokovic, the Australian Open champion who has 82 career titles compared to one for his unseeded British opponent. Having won in Melbourne for his 18th major title, Djokovic was 10-0 in 2021 coming into the match. But he faced pressure from the outset as he trailed 3-0 in the first set, dropping his serve five times in windy conditions. Evans, after breaking for a 6-5 lead in the second set, clinched victory on his first match point with a forehand winner that clipped the net. Nadal broke Dimitrov’s serve five times in a lopsided contest that saw the 14th-seeded Bulgarian double-fault three times in his opening service game.
BU’s Katie Nelson following Marisa Moseley to Wisconsin
Point guard Katie Nelson is following her coach from Boston University to Wisconsin. New Wisconsin women’s basketball coach Marisa Moseley announced Thursday that Nelson plans to play for the Badgers as a graduate transfer next season. Moseley took over Wisconsin’s program last month after posting a 45-29 record in three seasons at BU. The 5-foot-8 Nelson averaged 12 points and 4.3 assists for the Eagles this past season to earn first-team all-Patriot League honors... Another positive test result for COVID-19 has forced the entire Hertha Berlin team and coaching staff into self-isolation for two weeks, complicating the ambitious club’s bid to avoid Bundesliga relegation... Arsenal, Manchester United, Villareal, and Roma advanced to the Europa League semi-finals... The Canadian Grand Prix remains on the Formula One schedule for the 2021 season for now amid concerns by Montreal health officials about the potential spread of COVID-19... Duke has promoted Nolan Smith to assistant men’s basketball coach.