The Cleveland Cavaliers will be retiring Zydrunas Ilgauskas’ jersey in March of 2014.
The Cavs announced today that Ilgauskas will be honored on March 8. His No. 11 jersey will be raised to the rafters at the Quicken Loans Arena, joining the likes of Brad Daugherty, Larry Nance and Bobby “Bingo” Smith.
Ilgauskas is just the 7th player to have his jersey retired by the Cavaliers and the first since Mark Price left the team in 1995.
“Zydrunas is not only one of the best basketball players to ever wear a Cleveland Cavaliers uniform, he is also one of the finest human beings that has ever been associated with the franchise. Z’s numbers and productivity are clear evidence of his basketball success. What is more impressive about this gentle giant is the authentic concern and interest he displayed for not only his teammates, but for everybody who worked at the Cavaliers and for the loyal fans who supported him throughout and after his playing days.”
Ilgauskas joined the Cavaliers in 1996 and played 12 seasons in Cleveland. The 7-foot-3 Lithuanian was named to the All-Star team twice and has the second most blocks in team history.
Cavaliers general manager Chris Grant said:
“Zydrunas represents the very best of how any sports franchise would hope to be represented. He was a hard-working competitor who persevered, was dedicated, inspiring, and was a great teammate. As good as he was on the court, he was just as good off the court and in our community.”
Ilgauskas ended his career with 10,976 points, 6,191 rebounds and 1,327 blocks. The 7 foot center spent his final year in the NBA on the Miami Heat but said that he always considered Cleveland his home.
“I am happy and humbled by this great honor… Cleveland and the Cavaliers have been such a huge part of my life and it will be a very special and proud day for me and my family. I want to thank the Cavaliers and fans alike because I have been very fortunate to play here, work here and call Cleveland home.”