Quantcast 2011 NBA News: Zydrunas Ilgauskas Retires


Zydrunas Ilgauskas calls it a career on his terms


Eleven years ago, Zydrunas Ilgauskas’ career almost came to an abrupt end. On Sept. 30, 2011, he ended it himself.

Ilgauskas announced his retirement to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, citing fatigue from years of play. “Enough is enough,” Ilgauskas said. “My body is beat up, and I’m tired physically. There is no age limit, but everyone knows when it’s time.”

Ilgauskas was drafted in 1996 by Cleveland and played 13 seasons in the NBA — 12 with the Cavaliers and his last with the Miami Heat. He battled a number of foot and ankle surgeries that nearly cost him his career (and did cost him two full seasons), but after undergoing reconstructive foot surgery, he managed to save his career.

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“Big Z” finished his career as Cleveland’s all-time leader in games played with 771. Ilgauskas was named to the 1997-98 All-Rookie First Team and appeared in two All-Star Games representing the Cavaliers as well. He also appeared in two NBA Finals but came up short both times.

He finishes his career with averages of 13 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks in 843 total games.

Ilgauskas had been a fan favorite in Cleveland for years, but he angered many Cleveland fans when he chose to sign with the Heat in 2010, appearing to follow LeBron James out of town in search of a title. Despite that, Ilgauskas will most likely have his number retired by the team at some point.

He had exercised his contract option with the Heat for the 2011-12 season but apparently decided his body just could not take the grind anymore. No word on if the league’s continuing lockout played any role in his decision.

Ilgauskas joins Shaquille O’Neal and Yao Ming as prominent centers who have announced their retirement this offseason.



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By: Eric Lorenz
ProBasketball-fans.com Staff Writer

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