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LaMarcus Aldridge returns to NBA court for first game in 176 days

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Whether you are a Nets fan or not, seeing future Hall of Famer LaMarcus Aldridge back playing on an NBA court was a beautiful thing.

Aldridge scored six points in 15 minutes as the Nets beat the Los Angeles Lakers, 123-97, on Sunday in the preseason opener for both teams.

It had been 176 days since the 36-year-old last Aldridge played, and coincidentally that game also was against the Lakers. The forward admitted that he was struggling to go up and down the court in that April 10 game, and it was at that point when he knew something strange was up.

Aldridge later was diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat, which led him to a brief retirement. He described it as one of the “scariest” things he has ever gone through. Two months after the diagnosis, the veteran opened up about how it put him in a state of depression, according to Shams Charania of the Atheltic.

“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 Charania. “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.”

No feeling can make up for actually going back out on the court and suiting up for an NBA team. This is why Aldridge’s return means so much to not only the basketball world, but to the Texas native’s mental health, too.