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On Big Z And Jerseys

I'm sure many of you have already heard the news that Zydrunas Ilgauskas' number is reportedly being saved for an eventual retirement. This news came when some reporters inferred from Kyrie Irving's comments on his own jersey number selection that the Cavaliers organization was planning to retire Big Z's number. This was inferred when it came out that Irving was counseled to not select the number 11 for his jersey number with the Cavs as it is very closely tied to Big Z and would most likely eventually be retired. Later it was reported by the Plain Dealer's own Mary Schmitt Boyer that the Cavaliers organization has not formally discussed retiring Big Z's number as of yet, and any advice given to Kyrie Irving regarding the matter was simply that; advice.

Regardless of whether or not the Cavs organization has formally discussed the issue, it can be reasonably assumed that people within the organization have talked about it at some point, or else such advice would never have been given to Kyrie.

To be honest, the fact that this is news just goes to remind us how we're in a lockout. Anybody who paid the least bit of attention to the Cavs in the past 10 years could tell you that Big Z was an important part of every Cavaliers team in the past decade and more, excepting the years he was injured and maybe the last year of his Cavs tenure. He was a two-time All-Star, and owns the career marks for the Cavs in Games Played, Games Started, Offensive Rebounds, Total Rebounds, Blocked Shots, and last and also definitely least, Personal Fouls. I personally don't believe there's any argument that can be made against retiring Z's jersey, at least not a reasonable one.

I've heard it said the he doesn't deserve to have his jersey retired on the grounds that he followed Lebron James to Miami in an attempt to win a championship, but can you blame him? Once Lebron left Cleveland, Z's options were this: 1. Retire.  2. Stay in Cleveland where people love you, but go back to the old ways of losing almost every game for the next couple years until eventual retirement.  3. Go play in Miami, where you have 3 superstars on a single team, and most likely win a championship in one or two years. I don't know about you guys, but I would personally go with number 3, and even if you think differently it's hard to ignore the reasoning behind why he did choose number 3.

So should Z's jersey be retired? Of course. Will it be? Almost certainly. Will some people complain and be bitter about it? When have they ever not? Despite following He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named down to Miami to chase glory, Z was an important part of the Cavaliers organization for over a decade and was their most recognizable face in one of the darkest periods for the team and the greatest period in team history. So whether it be in one year or five years, when Z's jersey is retired I hope everyone will remember just how great a person and player we had in Big Z and just what he meant to Cleveland.