Skip to content

LeBron James wants to attend Zydrunas Ilgauskas’ jersey retirement – in Cleveland

Mar 3, 2014, 9:06 PM EDT

Cleveland Cavaliers' Zydrunas Ilgauskas rests his head on the shoulder of LeBron James in Cleveland Getty Images

LeBron James, to nobody’s surprise, is the all-time leading scorer in Cleveland Cavaliers history.

Who’s No. 2?

Zydrunas Ilgauskas, one of the most underrated of the previous generation of NBA players.

Ilgauskas overcame serious injuries to claim the Cavaliers’ franchise record for games played and made two All-Star games. He possessed a nice touch around the basket and used his 7-foot-3 frame to rebound like many players that tall struggle to do.

The Cavaliers built a losing roster to tank for LeBron, and after acquiring him, they cleared out the riffraff. But they kept Ilgauskas, and he and LeBron grew close. Ilgauskas even followed LeBron to Miami for a season, though Cleveland has apparently gotten over that defection.

Saturday, the Cavaliers will retire Ilgauskas’ jersey.

The Heat play at San Antonio on Thursday and Chicago on Sunday. Would that two-day break allow LeBron to attend the ceremony?

LeBron, via Tom Haberstroh of ESPN:

“I want to be there, but we’ll see. I’m not sure just yet,” James said. “I think it’s going to be a great day for my friend, a dear friend of mine. I’m excited for him.”

Of course, whenever LeBron returns to Cleveland, it’s a spectacle. Haberstroh:

would the reigning MVP’s presence take attention away from Ilgauskas?

“I hope it doesn’t, if I’m able to make it,” James said. “It’s not my day, it’s not about me. It’s about Z. But it wouldn’t matter to me. Obviously I’m there for a dear friend, to be able to support him, if I’m able to make it, and that’s the main thing.”

LeBron being there would take away from Ilgauskas, but that’s fair to neither LeBron nor Ilgauskas. If they want to share this occasion together, they shouldn’t let Cleveland fans deter them.

Those two brought the Cavaliers to their highest levels. It would be nice if fans would respect both of them enough to let Ilgauskas have his moment. Of course, they wouldn’t, which is in there rights.

But I hope LeBron attends and he and Ilgauskas just block out the noise.

Latest Posts
  1. Chris Kaman has new reality show, to air on Mark Cuban’s network

    Jul 29, 2015, 9:30 PM EDT

    Philadelphia 76ers v Los Angeles Lakers Philadelphia 76ers v Los Angeles Lakers

    “I think someone who would watch this would think there is something wrong with me and something wrong with my friends.” — Chris Kaman

  2. Report: Veteran point guard Andre Miller reaches one-year deal with Timberwolves

    Jul 29, 2015, 8:47 PM EDT

    Shabazz Napier, Andre Miller Shabazz Napier, Andre Miller

    Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns are about to be finishing alley-oops from the best lob passer in the game.

  3. Warriors promote Luke Walton to lead assistant coach

    Jul 29, 2015, 6:55 PM EDT

    Golden State Warriors v New Orleans Pelicans Getty Images

    Kerr says Luke Walton is a future head coach in the NBA.

  4. Raptors’ coach Dwane Casey says expect more small ball from the Raptors this year

    Jul 29, 2015, 6:31 PM EDT

    Toronto Raptors v Washington Wizards - Game Four Getty Images

    Toronto has shifted the roster to be more defensive, and be able to go smaller.

  5. Raptors hire Jerry Stackhouse as assistant coach

    Jul 29, 2015, 4:22 PM EDT

    Stackhouse drives against Carter Getty Images

    Rex Kalamian and Andy Greer also join Dwane Casey’s staff

  6. Jerry Colangelo: I think LeBron James wants to be part of Team USA

    Jul 29, 2015, 2:03 PM EDT

    cd0ymzcznguwzdbhnduynddiytjhm2yyzthlmtjjotqwyyznpwmxmdgxmdzhnmq1mwfkn2ewnwi0m2zkowvjzwnhmdmz AP

    Cavaliers star has avoided making a public decision

  7. Brazil’s automatic basketball bid for 2016 Olympics in jeopardy over money

    Jul 29, 2015, 1:04 PM EDT

    Tiago Splitter, Rudy Fernandez, Leandrinho Barbosa AP

    If Brazil qualifies through FIBA Americas Championship, that could close door for another North/South American team from qualifying

  8. Phil Jackson on Kobe Bryant: ‘I could feel his hatred’

    Jul 29, 2015, 12:00 PM EDT

    Los Angeles Lakers v Charlotte Bobcats Getty Images

    Lakers were in a bad place when Jackson first stepped away

  9. LeBron James Twitter Q&A: NFL career, Kobe Bryant’s best play, Ronda Rousey and more

    Jul 29, 2015, 10:13 AM EDT

    Cleveland Cavaliers v Los Angeles Lakers Cleveland Cavaliers v Los Angeles Lakers

    Cavaliers star also addresses his favorites – including place to play, rapper, and teammates

  10. Hornets sign Elliot Williams as 16th player

    Jul 29, 2015, 9:26 AM EDT

    Charlotte Hornets vs Philadelphia 76ers Getty Images

    He’ll likely compete with Aaron Harrison to make regular-season roster

  11. Who is still out there: Top 10 free agents still on the market

    Jul 29, 2015, 8:31 AM EDT

    Atlanta Hawks v Cleveland Cavaliers - Game Four Getty Images

    Cleveland’s Tristan Thompson and J.R. Smith head the list.

  12. Donald Trump says he’s becoming a Mavericks fan after Mark Cuban’s comments

    Jul 29, 2015, 12:05 AM EDT

    Celebrities At Game 3 Of The Lakers/Suns Getty Images

    Cuban said presidential candidate is ‘probably the best thing to happen to politics in a long, long time’

  13. Report: Warriors to sign Ian Clark

    Jul 28, 2015, 11:09 PM EDT

    Denver Nuggets v Golden State Warriors Getty Images

    Could former summer-league standout fill Golden State’s need for an off-the-bench shooter?

Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. K. Bryant (3354)
  2. B. Haywood (2584)
  3. I. Thomas (2491)
  4. S. Curry (2218)
  5. L. James (2159)
  1. J. Fredette (2099)
  2. K. Durant (1982)
  3. C. Copeland (1964)
  4. A. Randolph (1959)
  5. P. Pressey (1785)