LeBron James is returning to Cleveland.
He is expected to return to Cleveland when the Cavaliers retire Zydrunas Ilgauskas’ No. 11 jersey on Saturday night. The pair are very good friends according to Lebron. From Cleveland.com:
“I talk to Z very often, probably once or twice a month,” James told The Plain Dealer. “He meant everything to me. When you come in as a rookie you try to find a leader, that veteran, that guy who’s been around to learn the ropes from. He taught me how to be a professional on and off the floor. That’s something you cannot ever take for granted. He was everything to me.
“From Day One, I knew he was going to be a guy I would always be with.”
Here is what Ilgauskas had to say:
“I think he respected me because I always treated him the same. I treated him the same when he was a rookie 18-year-old with all those expectations and on the day he won the MVP trophy. Our relationship has not changed. I always treated him the same — with respect. ”
James says that he took a lot of inspiration from Ilgauskas who battled through multiple injuries throughout his time in Cleveland and still put up very good numbers. The two played together for 8 years total with 7 of them being in Cleveland and one in Miami. Ilgauskas is the Cavs all-time leader in games played (771), rebounds (5,904) and blocks (1,269). He’s also second all-time in scoring with 10,616 points.