Cleveland Cavaliers to Retire Zydrunas Ilgauskas' Jersey

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Cleveland Cavaliers to Retire Zydrunas Ilgauskas' Jersey
David Liam Kyle/Getty Images

The Cleveland Cavaliers have had plenty of stars in their 43-year history, but few have been as universally beloved as Zydrunas Ilgauskas.

According to Mary Schmitt Boyer of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, the Cavs will honor one of their all-time greats when they retire Big Z's number on March 8 against the New York Knicks.

It'll be an honor only six former Cavs have enjoyed: Mark Price, Brad Daugherty, Larry Nance, Austin Carr, Bingo Smith and Nate Thurmond, per

Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel shared a promotional photo of what's sure to be a memorable night for Cavs fans.

Ilgauskas played a dozen seasons with Cleveland from 1997-98 to 2009-10. Though much of his early career was lost to a series of foot injuries, the Lithuanian big man beat the odds and strung together enough healthy seasons to make a real mark in Cleveland's record books.

The big man managed to stick around on the strength of his mid-range jumper and consistently excellent rebound rate. At 7'3", Big Z barely had to get off the floor to corral his boards, which was a good thing because the numerous foot surgeries he endured rendered him one of the more earth-bound NBA players in memory.

On rare, delightful occasions, he even got a little creative despite his limited athleticism.

Good times.

No other Cavalier in franchise history has more career rebounds, blocks or games played, per And only LeBron James, whom Ilgauskas followed to the Miami Heat in 2010-11, scored more career points for Cleveland.

Widely regarded as one of the NBA's all-time "good guys," Ilgauskas is sure to receive a deafening ovation when the Cavs hoist his No. 11 to the rafters.  

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