Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Tribute To Z


It is with sad news that I am blogging today.  Mr. Cavalier, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, has decided to pack his bags for South Beach, following his long-time teammate LeBron James. "It was a hard decision for him," his agent, Herb Rudoy, said. "He has 14 years invested in the Cavs and he wants to win a championship. He's going where he has the best chance to win a championship."  Z leaves the Cavs as one of the greatest players in team history, standing second in their records books in points scored, and first in games played (771), blocks (1,269) and rebounds (5,904).  More important than the numbers, however, was the incredible journey Z took to get to where he is today.  Early in his career, Z suffered from a broken foot which prevented him from playing at all during the 1996-1997 season.  Z opted to have re-constructive surgery on his foot, and bounced back to make the All Star Game in both 2003 and 2005. 

Not only did Z show incredible dedication to not only his craft, fighting through foot injuries when he could have easily quit and collected his paycheck, but he also showed an incredible loyalty to the Cavaliers and the city of Cleveland in general.  Despite being traded in the middle of last season to the Washington Wizards for Antawn Jamison, Z immediately orchestrated a buy-out and signed back with the Cavaliers after the mandatory 30-day waiting period.  Even after losing his starting spot to Shaquille O'Neal.  Even after then-coach Mike Brown refused to play him earlier in the season, on the day in which he was scheduled to break the Cavaliers record for all-time games played.

So, Z, good luck with your new team.  It's a weird goodbye.  It will be weird to see you actually wear another teams uniform and call another arena home.  But you have been nothing but great to Cleveland fans and Clevelanders throughout your entire career.  I wish you as many championships as years you continue to play, and I hope that you will continue to call Cleveland home, long after your playing days are over. 

In summary, what's an Austin Carr?  Zydrunas Ilgauskas is and always will be Mr. Cavalier.

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