NBA

Cavs retiring Ilgauskas's jersey

Zydrunas Ilgauskas
Zydrunas Ilgauskas, or "Z" to fans, played 12 seasons for the Cavaliers.
Share This Story

   
 

CLEVELAND (AP)

Zydrunas Ilgauskas' jersey is going up to where he can't even reach it.

The Cavaliers will retire Ilgauskas' No. 11 on March 8, raising it to the rafters in Quicken Loans Arena to honor their beloved former center who overcame major foot injuries early in his career to become one of Cleveland's best players.

"Zydrunas is not only one of the best basketball players to ever wear a Cleveland Cavaliers uniform, he is also one of the finest human beings that has ever been associated with the franchise," Cavs owner Dan Gilbert said.

"Z's numbers and productivity are clear evidence of his basketball success. What is more impressive about this gentle giant is the authentic concern and interest he displayed for not only his teammates, but for everybody who worked at the Cavaliers and for the loyal fans who supported him throughout and after his playing days."

Ilgauskas' jersey will be retired when the Cavs host the New York Knicks. It's a fitting tribute to the popular Ilgauskas, who is known simply as "Z" to Cleveland fans. He played 12 seasons with the Cavaliers and was twice named an NBA All-Star.

The 7-foot-3 Lithuanian was drafted by the Cavs in 1996. He finished with the second-most blocks and points in team history and was a major contributor on Cleveland playoff teams, including the one that made the NBA Finals in 2007.

Ilgauskas persisted after undergoing numerous reconstructive surgeries to fix his feet. At one point, Ilguaskas nearly retired but pushed on and enjoyed a solid NBA career.

"Zydrunas represents the very best of how any sports franchise would hope to be represented," Cavaliers general manager Chris Grant said. "He was a hard-working competitor who persevered, was dedicated, inspiring, and was a great teammate. As good as he was on the court, he was just as good off the court and in our community."

Ilgauskas, who currently works as a special assistant to Grant, is touched by the tribute.

bracket

BEST OF TIMES

Bird, Jordan and Magic are among our top 10 players in NBA history.

"I am happy and humbled by this great honor," he said. "Cleveland and the Cavaliers have been such a huge part of my life and it will be a very special and proud day for me and my family. I want to thank the Cavaliers and fans alike because I have been very fortunate to play here, work here and call Cleveland home."

Ilgauskas will be the seventh player to have his jersey retired, joining Austin Carr, Nate Thurmond, Bobby "Bingo" Smith, Larry Nance, Brad Daugherty and Mark Price.

Tagged: Cavaliers, Heat, Zydrunas Ilgauskas

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by


NBA Videos

NBA considering mid-season Vegas tournament? Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Adam Silver confirms the NBA has engaged in early conversations about the possib...

LeBron and Blatt 'will work together beautifully' Posted: Jul 14, 2014
Cavaliers head coach David Blatt on LeBron James' decision to return to Clevelan...

LeBron's back and so are the Cavs Posted: Jul 11, 2014
FOX Sports 1's Gary Payton weighs-in on LeBron's decision to return to Cleveland...

More Than Sports on MSN

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    adidas Blake Griffin Los Angeles Clippers Revolution 30 Performance Jersey - Red http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Los_Angeles_Clippers/browse/featuredproduct/491845/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_491000/ff_491845_xl.jpg&w=100 59.95 adidas Blake Griffin Los Angeles Clippers Revolution 30 Performance Jersey - Red
    adidas LeBron James Miami Heat Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey-Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Miami_Heat/browse/featuredproduct/498609/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_498000/ff_498609_xl.jpg&w=100 89.95 adidas LeBron James Miami Heat Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey-Black
    adidas Carmelo Anthony New York Knicks Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey - Royal Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_York_Knicks/browse/featuredproduct/620470/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_620000/ff_620470_xl.jpg&w=100 49.99 adidas Carmelo Anthony New York Knicks Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey..
    Mitchell & Ness San Antonio Spurs Black Solid Script Snapback Adjustable Hat http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Antonio_Spurs/browse/featuredproduct/692239/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_692000/ff_692239_xl.jpg&w=100 25.95 Mitchell & Ness San Antonio Spurs Black Solid Script Snapback Adjustable Hat
    Majestic Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers Logo Man T-Shirt - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Los_Angeles_Lakers/browse/featuredproduct/851828/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_851000/ff_851828_xl.jpg&w=100 23.95 Majestic Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers Logo Man T-Shirt - Black
    Majestic Kevin Durant Oklahoma City Thunder Logo Man T-Shirt - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oklahoma_City_Thunder/browse/featuredproduct/851842/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_851000/ff_851842_xl.jpg&w=100 23.95 Majestic Kevin Durant Oklahoma City Thunder Logo Man T-Shirt - White
    adidas Miami Heat 2012 NBA Eastern Conference Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Miami_Heat/browse/featuredproduct/890174/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_890000/ff_890174_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 adidas Miami Heat 2012 NBA Eastern Conference Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Wh..
    adidas Oklahoma City Thunder 2012 NBA Western Conference Champions Locker Room Flex Hat - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oklahoma_City_Thunder/browse/featuredproduct/890384/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_890000/ff_890384_xl.jpg&w=100 19.99 adidas Oklahoma City Thunder 2012 NBA Western Conference Champions Locker Room F..