Zydrunas Ilgauskas announced his retirement yesterday, and I’m thinking his next announcement should be about his retirement party.
A festive occasion Z hosts in Downtown Cleveland, where he invites three to five hundred Cavaliers’ Fans through a free online ticket auction, all gathered together in the spirit of celebrating the Big Fella’s dozen years in a Cavs uniform.
Everyone will have so much fun, that by night’s end, nobody will even remember about that last, desperate, trip down to South Beach.
I know you’re liking this idea already Z, and there’s no need to thank me for it. Just make it happen. If you want, I’ll even try to line some sponsors up for the occasion so the tab isn’t too steep when you pick it up for everybody at last call. I’ve watched Turtle do the same thing for Vinny Chase a few times, and I’m pretty sure I could handle that for you. Just my way of saying thanks for memories Big Guy.
There’d be a limitless amount of ground that Z could cover when he took the mic to address the crowd too. He could open with some light-hearted Ricky Davis jokes, maybe some friendly Vitaly Potapenko smack, then move into a couple of those behind the scenes type stories we’re not always privy too as fans.
He can get into the emotionally, inspirational, stories about the hard times too if he wants, but that part’s his call. I’d be more interested in his recollection of that night Boobie Gibson went off and the Cavs clinched the East personally. I also think it would good if it ended with an ‘I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings by going down to MIA guys’ too, because I really don’t think he did.
If there was any animosity still felt towards Ilgauskas in response to that move still lingering around here, it would be completely overwhelmed for all eternity by the cool points he’d earn through doing something like this. Plus it would be fun. There shouldn’t really be a celebrity guest list either, it would be better if it was just Z and some Cavs fans chopping it up all night anyways. Zydrunas never was Hollywood to begin with, nor was he the bright lights of South Beach. He was Cleveland, all the way, and we loved him for that. Which is why it’s time to celebrate.
He quietly finished up his NBA career as the League’s 41st All-Time Leader in Rebounding (2,444), and he’s also 40th All-Time in Blocks (1,327). He was an All Star twice, and would’ve went a few more times if he didn’t miss most of those first four seasons too. As far as the Cavaliers record books are concerned, Z has played the most games of any Cleveland Cavalier ever, grabbed the most rebounds, blocked the most shots, is second in total points scored, third in free throw percentage, and he also finished first in fouls which is cool and kinda funny too.
So here’s hoping Z throws a party like this someday soon in the town that drafted him as a tall, skinny kid, with a full head of hair out of Lithuania way back in 1996. We loved having you here Big Fella, and would be glad to have you back.