The plan for LeBron James remain the same when it comes to Big Z’s big day – LBJ is set to attend Zydrunas Ilgauskas’ jersey retirement ceremony Saturday night (along with Miami Heat assistant coach Ron Rothstein), despite concerns of a cold reception from still-bitter Cavs fans. Per the Palm Beach Post:
“It’s looking like I may be able to make it, still not quite sure, but if I can I would love to be there to support him and be there for one unforgettable night,” he said before (Thrusday night’s) game at San Antonio.
Ilgauskas was with James all seven years in Cleveland and came with him to Miami for the 2010-11 season. Rothstein was an assistant coach with the Cavaliers early in Ilgauskas’ time there.
“I think it’s an incredible night,” said coach Erik Spoelstra, who had no objection to James going to Cleveland. “There’s a few people from our organization going, including Ronny, which was very touching that Big Z would reach out to Ronny. They’re all going together.
“It’s been planned for a while. We have the ultimate respect for Big Z and we view him as a Miami Heat guy even though he’s as much of a Cleveland Cavalier as Udonis Haslem is to us. For that one year, you could see why they view him as so special. We could see all those qualities. He’s an absolute professional and unbelievable player, but equal that off the court.”
That made an impact on James when he came to the Cavaliers straight out of high school.
“It was more of him talking and me listening, just trying to pick his brain about how to be a professional off the floor and what I should expect,” he said. “It was very encouraging to have someone like that.”