Zydrunas Illgauskus: A True Cavalier

Fans inside Quicken Loans Arena erupted with joy on Sunday when longtime Cleveland Cavaliers center Zydrunas Illgauskus made his return to the team after being traded away shortly after the All-Star Break. When the trade occurred, many wondered if Illgauskus would ever wear a Cavaliers uniform again. With several different offers and opportunities from other teams, Illgauskus proved he is a true Cleveland Cavalier by resigning with the team that has stuck with him through thick and thin. Illgauskus had other lucrative offers on the table but has always proven to be true to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

After being traded to the Washington Wizards, many wondered if Illgauskus would want to play with the Cavaliers. Illgauskus mentioned he was shocked by the trade but in reality, his heart remained close to Cleveland. Illgauskus mentioned at the time that he hoped the Wizards would buy him out right away so that he could “go home” meaning he wanted to return to Cleveland. Rumors of Illgauskus signing with other teams became rampant but it was clear that there was only one team he wanted to play for and that was the Cleveland Cavaliers.

During his career, Illgauskus has been loyal to the Cavaliers organization through the rough times and the good. Illgauskus was drafted not too long after the team began what many consider to be a period of mediocrity where playoff appearances seemed impossible. The Cavaliers were not the draw they are now but Illgauskus stuck with the team during this time. He didn’t want to play anywhere else even though he could have but his heart was true to the Cavaliers organization.

In addition to being a great teammate and offensive threat, Illgauskus is considered by many to be a class act on and off the court. Illgauskus has never ripped the team in public, has been supportive of the management, and shows more class then some of the other players that have come through Cleveland. Even when players who were poor influences on younger players such as Ricky Davis, Darius Miles, Shawn Kemp and Tyrone Hill were on the roster, Illgauskus was always classy on the court and off and still treats everyone with respect.

Whether or not Illgauskus will continue playing next season is still in question but if he decides to play, fans clearly know where his heart lies and what a true Cavalier he has proven himself to be.

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~ by jeffrsabo on March 30, 2010.

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