TheCleveland Cavaliers will retire the #11 jersey of Cavs legend Zydrunas Ilgauskas on March 8, 2014 at QuickenLoans Arena when the team takes on the New York Knicks,the franchise announced today. Ilgauskas was drafted by theCavaliers in the first round of the 1996 draft and played 12 seasons forthe Wine and Gold.
“Zydrunasrepresents the very best of how any sports franchise would hope to berepresented,” said Cavaliers General Manager Chris Grant. “He was ahard working competitor who persevered, was dedicated, inspiring, and was agreat teammate. As good as he was on the court, he was just as good off thecourt and in our community. Everyone that knows Z also knows that heis a kind-hearted, fun-loving and honorable person. He has beena colleague, mentor and friend to many people in the Cavaliers family andwe are extremely happy and grateful that he was, is, and always willbe a Cleveland Cavalier. His jersey hanging in The Q will be apermanent reflection of all that he has meant to the entire organizationand Cleveland.”
Ilgauskas, who is currently a special assistant to ChrisGrant, has stamped his name throughout the Cavaliers record books and wasa core part of some of the most successful teams in Cavs history. Whileranking in the top five of numerous statistical categories, Z is theall-time franchise leader in games played (771), offensive rebounds(2,336), total rebounds (5,904) and blocks (1,269) while ranking second inpoints scored (10,616).
TheCavaliers chose Zydrunas with the 20th overall pick in the firstround of the 1996 NBA draft. Ilgauskas logged career averagesof 13.0 points on .476 shooting, 7.3 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in 27.2minutes in 843 games (724 starts).
“ZydrunasIlgauskas is not only one of the best basketball players to ever wear aCleveland Cavaliers uniform, he is also one of the finest human beings that hasever been associated with the franchise. ‘Z’s numbers and productivity areclear evidence of his basketball success. What is more impressive about thisgentle giant is the authentic concern and interest he displayed for not onlyhis teammates, but for everybody who worked at the Cavaliers and for the loyalfans who supported him throughout and after his playing days. Z carried himselfin a manner that positively impacted the fans and community that serves as thegold standard for all professional athletes. I am proud that the big fellah’sjersey is being retired and will hang forever in the rafters of The Q”, saidDan Gilbert Majority Owner of the Cavaliers.
The7-foot-3 inch former center earned NBA All-Star honors on twooccasions (2003, 2005) and played in six postseasons with the Cavaliers,including playing a major role on the Cavaliers teams that reached at least thesecond round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs in five consecutive seasons(2006-2010) which included the franchise’s first appearance in the NBAFinals in 2007.