How Zydrunas Ilgauskas Made Me a Cavs Fan

Zydrunas Ilgauskas is expected to re-sign with the Cavaliers today, and over on, I'll have the analysis, how this affects the Cavs, LeBron, etc. But here, I wanted to take some time to share how Zydrunas Ilgauskas has made me a Cavs fan.

I've written about this before, but when I started following the team in 2003, I had no intention of becoming a Cavaliers fan. I was a LeBron James fan, and I fully planned on following him to whatever team he ended up with, without really getting attached to that team. I still told myself, and anyone who would ask, that was the case, but come this past February, I realized it was no longer true.

When Ilgauskas was traded my first thought as a LeBron fan should have been "wow, this is great for LeBron. He'll definitely win a championship now." But it wasn't. Instead it was "wow, it would suck if the Cavs finally won a championship and Z wasn't a part of it." And yes, I'm aware that nothing that's happened in the last two months has guaranteed a championship for Cleveland, but my mindset had completely changed. In 2003, I just wanted LeBron James to win a championship. Then, at some point, that became wanting to see LeBron James win a championship in Cleveland. Now the mindset is "I want to see the Cleveland Cavaliers win a championship, and I want Zydrunas Ilgauskas to be there when they do it."

Ilgauskas is the last link to the pre-LeBron Cavs, and given what he's had to go through in his career -- with major foot problems that nearly derailed his career 10 years ago -- he deserves a championship as much as any player in this league. I'm happy that he's back in Cleveland, not just to help LeBron, but to be part of a special Cavaliers team.