Zydrunas Ilgauskas pens letter thanking Cleveland


Thumbnail image for ilgauskas_return.jpgCleveland fans aren’t dealing with the loss of one favorite son. They’re dealing with two. Zydrunas Ilgauskas, a Cavalier for 14 years, headed to Miami with LeBron James to try and win a championship with his friend. James’ betrayal was “king” in Cleveland. Get it? “King?” As in, LeBron James, “King James?” It’s a pun, you see.

Anyway, James’ move to Miami was a much bigger deal than Z, but Z was still a fan favorite. People likely have some run-off hate for him for deserting them, not to mention deserting them for James.

Lost in all this is the fact that Cleveland coach Mike Brown DNP-CD’d Ilgauskas in the game he had brought friends and family in to note him breaking the record for most games by a Cavalier. Then the Cavs traded Z to Washington in order to acquire Antawn Jamison, a necessary move, but one that had to affect how Z thought the Cavs valued him.

But Ilgauskas loved Cleveland and its fans, and as such, he bought space to publish a letter in Sunday’s edition of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer. It’s a thoughtful letter looking back on his career. However, saying he hopes Cleveland fans can “understand” his decision to go to Miami?

A bit much to hope for, probably.

Kobe Bryant says his age 37 is not like Michael Jordan’s age 37

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Once again, Kobe Bryant‘s career arc is being compared to Michael Jordan’s.

There’s a lot of reason’s that’s flawed — starting with Kobe being drafted on to a Lakers team that had Shaquille O’Neal and was already considered NBA elite, as opposed to Jordan working to build a franchise up. That said, Kobe has invited the Jordan comparison at times and it has been a constant through is career. Fair or not.

Kobe is coming back this fall after seasons of injury to the NBA and those comparisons continue — now to the Wizards’ version of Jordan. And Kobe is not at all fond of that, as he told Sam Amick of the USA Today.

“This is uncharted territory,” he said. “My 37 (years old) isn’t MJ’s 37 (when he returned after taking two seasons off to play for the Washington Wizards), you know what I mean? Nor is it the same team or the same system that he was playing in. It’s much, much different. There’s really no barometer, no (precedent) for training physically, for recovery. It’s uncharted territory.”

Kobe is right. Jordan had four+ seasons off by the time he was 37 and was not coming off multiple major surgeries.

Kobe is entering his 20th NBA season and what any real basketball fan should wish for him is health. Let him play one full season (with limited minutes and nights off), let him get to the final game of this season next April and make his own decision on his future. Let him leave the game on his own terms.

That said, if Kobe can average Jordan’s numbers at that age — 22.9 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game — it will be a major accomplishment, and the Lakers will have a better record than many of us expect.

And Kobe may want to play a 21st season as well.

Celtics ease to 124-91 win at Olimpia Milano in Global Games

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MILAN (AP) — The Boston Celtics eased to a 124-91 victory over Olimpia Milano at the Mediolanum Forum on Tuesday, comfortably winning the first of a double-header in Europe as part of the NBA Global Games.

Isaiah Thomas led the way for the Celtics with 18 points, including nine in his first seven minutes after coming off the bench midway through the first quarter.

Jared Sullinger added 14 points, as did Avery Bradley, who also had four three-pointers, while David Lee weighed in with 13 as well as seven rebounds and three assists.

Alessandro Gentile – who is reportedly wanted by the Houston Rockets, who hold NBA rights to the 22-year-old – top scored for Milano, with 19 points.

Next up for the Celtics is Real Madrid in Spain on Thursday.