Sep 30, 2011, 12:34 PM EDT
Lithuanian big man Zydrunas Ilgauskas is retiring from the NBA after 13 seasons, 12 of them anchoring he middle for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Ilgauskas spoke with the Cleveland Plain Dealer, which tweeted his quotes.
Ilgauskas: “enough is enough. My body is beat up and I’m tired physically. There is no age limit, but everyone knows when it’s time.”
More Z: “I want to spend more time with my family. I have spent the last 15 years living out of a suitcase.”
Ilgauskas suffered serious foot injuries before coming to the NBA and had a couple of foot surgeries, not unlike the ones that ended Yao Ming’s career. However, Ilgauskas was just 21-years-old at the time and his body was able recover well enough for him to play at an NBA level. His deft outside touch — he took 5 shots from 16-23 feet a game in 2009 and hit 44 percent of them — allowed him to rack up double-digit scoring per game in 10 of his NBA seasons.
Ilgauskas was beloved in Cleveland, where he stuck with a troubled franchise for years then was a key part of the LeBron James era. Ilgauskas was very involved with some Cleveland area charities and was really part of the community.
There has been talk of retiring Big Z’s number in Cleveland.
Ilgauskas followed LeBron to Miami last season but was unable to provide the inside presence the Heat needed. He was just not physically able to do it anymore.
So he is just going to walk away. He will be missed, he was one of the good guys of the league.
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