New York Knicks guard Cuttino Mobley retired from the NBA on Thursday because of heart disease that he said has gotten worse.
Mobley said doctors told him he faced significant risks if he kept playing. The 11-year veteran said by walking away now, he could live a long life.
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Mobley announced his decision at a press conference at the Knicks' training center, where he confirmed he has hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. The condition causes the heart muscle to thicken, making it harder to pump blood, and the 33-year-old Mobley said he had no choice but to end his career.
"The specialists I've seen made it clear that my heart condition has gotten worse and I couldn't continue to play professional basketball without putting my health and life in serious danger," Mobley said. "As much as I want to keep playing in the NBA, I have no choice but to follow the advice of my doctors and step away from the league."
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is the leading cause of sudden cardiac death in people under 30 years old and was linked to the deaths of former Boston Celtics forward Reggie Lewis and Loyola Marymount star Hank Gathers.
The Knicks acquired Mobley last month from the Clippers — a trade that may have saved his life. An EKG during his physical showed an irregularity with the heart, which Mobley already knew existed. The Knicks decided to perform an MRI exam, which revealed the more serious condition that previously had gone undetected.
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Around the league
Rockets: Forward Ron Artest will sit out the next two games with a sprained right ankle. Tracy McGrady practiced Thursday and may return ahead of schedule from a knee injury. McGrady has missed Houston's last seven games with soreness in his left knee.
Cavaliers: Center Zydrunas Ilgauskas is expected to miss at least two games after spraining his left ankle in a win at Philadelphia on Wednesday.