Zydrunas Ilgauskas is beloved in Cleveland after spending 13 years with the Cavaliers, being a good player on the court and a rock solid member in the community through some rough years for that franchise (and a few good ones). Look at it this way: When LeBron James bolted for Miami in 2010 Ilgauskas went with him but Big Z was cheered upon his return. There were no hard feelings.
It’s been rumored for more than two years that the Cavaliers were going to retire Ilgauskas’ number, but it looks like they will finally get around to it March 8 when the Cavaliers host the Knicks, reports the Plain Dealer.
Ilgauskas’ story is one of perseverance — the first round pick of the Cavaliers lost his entire rookie season to a foot injury. He played in the full 82 games the next season (1998) but lingering foot issues held him back to 29 games over the next three seasons. He seemed a bust that couldn’t get healthy, but he wouldn’t quit. He kept working out and by 2002 he was again a regular part of the rotation for Cleveland.
By 2003 he was an All-Star (he was again in 2005) and he is still the franchise’s all time leader in rebounds, blocked shots and games played, and he’s second all time in points.
By the way, the Plain Dealer has the answer to your trivia question: There are six other Cavaliers with their numbers already retired.
Ilgauskas will be the seventh Cavalier to have his number retired, and the first since Mark Price’s No. 25 in 1999. Other players so honored include Nate Thurmond (42), Bingo Smith (7), Austin Carr (34), Larry Nance (22) and Brad Daugherty (43).
With so much focus in recent weeks being on NBA players speaking out on social issues, it’s worth remembering that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has been one of the most vocal athletes in America on these things for decades. The Hall of Fame and all-time leading scorer in NBA history addressed the Democratic National Convention on Thursday evening, urging voters to vote for Hillary Clinton in November, and opened his remarks by introducing himself as Michael Jordan, because “Donald Trump couldn’t tell the difference.”
You can watch the video of his speech below:
In the weeks since Kevin Durant announced he was signing with the Golden State Warriors, we have yet to hear Russell Westbrook speak on his former teammate’s decision. This week, ESPN.com’s Royce Young indicated in a podcast interview that Durant was telling Westbrook and others in the days leading up to his decision that he was coming back to Oklahoma City. He later walked back his report, saying he misspoke. On Thursday, Durant himself told The Vertical‘s Shams Charania that he never said any such thing, or misled Westbrook or anyone else about his intentions.
“It’s false,” Durant told The Vertical on Thursday. “I didn’t say that – words about me telling Russell or Nick that I would stay or leave never came out of my mouth. We met as teammates, but no promises came out of it. In this day and age, I can’t control anything people claim out there. Someone can go out and say something random right now, and people will believe it.
“I never told Russell or Nick [Collison], ‘All right, guys, I’m coming back to the Thunder’ – and then a week later, I decide not to. Never happened. I don’t operate like that. I heard people say that story, but it’s not the truth.”
So that settles that.
CHICAGO (AP) The Chicago Bulls have signed guard Spencer Dinwiddie.
The Bulls acquired Dinwiddie in a trade with Detroit last month and waived him three weeks ago. He spent two years with the Pistons and appeared in 12 games last season, averaging 4.8 points and 13.3 minutes.
The Bulls announced the move Thursday.