Ilgauskas to have his jersey retired by the Cavaliers
Published: Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, October 22, 2013 22:10
Zydrunas Ilgauskas was a nightmare for guards and sportscasters for years as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Despite never attaining a true star power and only being named to two NBA All-Star Games, “Big Z,” as he’s lovingly referred to, will have his jersey retired by the Cavaliers.
Ilgauskas was drafted by the Cavaliers in 1996 with the 20th overall pick and spent 13 years with the franchise. He would make the 2003 and 2005 All-Star Games. Ilgauskus also led the league in offensive rebounds in 2005 with 299, this would be the only statistical category he would lead in.
The Cavaliers have retired numbers in the past. Cleveland retired No. 7 for Bingo Smith who helped the Cavaliers capture a 1975-76 Central Division Crown. No. 22 was retired for Larry Nance, a three time all-star. No. 25 was retired for Austin Carr who is better known as “Mr. Cavalier” and No. 43 was retired for Brad Daugherty, the first pick in the 1986 NBA Draft, selected to five all-star teams and held the Cavaliers’ points scored record until 2008 when he was surpassed by LeBron James.
Ilgauskus wasn’t just selected for his on court prowess, but also for his conduct off the court.
“He was a hard-working competitor who persevered, was dedicated, inspiring, and was a great teammate,” said Cleveland Cavaliers General Manager Chris Grant. “As good as he was on the court, he was just as good off the court and in our community.”
This couldn’t have been truer than in 2009 when Ilgauskus pleaded with the city of Cleveland to direct unclaimed class action settlement money to deserving non-profit organizations.
Ilgauskus joins Shaquille O’Neal as another great big man of the last decade to have his name hung in the rafters of their respective franchise. While he might not have had the flashiest of careers, he represented the franchise and city in the way it deserved.