The Cleveland Cavaliers will celebrate Zydrunas lgauskas’ career this weekend by raising his jersey to the rafters, and LeBron James wants to be in the building for the occasion. Things might get awkward. Per ESPN:
James’ longtime teammate Zydrunas Ilgauskas, whom James called “a dear friend” before he set a career-high with 61 points in Miami’s 124-107 win against the Charlotte Bobcats on Monday, will have his No. 11 jersey retired by the Cavaliers on Saturday at Quicken Loans Arena.
“I want to be there, but we’ll see. I’m not sure just yet,” James said. “I think it’s going to be a great day for my friend, a dear friend of mine. I’m excited for him.”
After the Heat play Thursday in San Antonio, the team will have two days off on Friday and Saturday before playing in Chicago on Sunday. James and Ilgauskas played eight seasons together, seven in Cleveland and one in Miami, before Ilgauskas retired from the NBA in 2011.
Ilgauskas currently works in the Cavaliers’ front office as a special assistant. Considering James’ complicated history with the Cleveland faithful, would the reigning MVP’s presence take attention away from Ilgauskas?
“I hope it doesn’t, if I’m able to make it,” James said. “It’s not my day, it’s not about me. It’s about Z. But it wouldn’t matter to me. Obviously I’m there for a dear friend, to be able to support him, if I’m able to make it, and that’s the main thing.”
James helped recruit Ilgauskas to Miami in the summer of 2010 after James left Cleveland. The Heat lost in the 2011 Finals to the Dallas Mavericks, the second time that James and Ilgauskas reached the Finals. Both ended without titles.