News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Cedar Point

NOCHE

Lehmans


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us


'Z' is in good, but not great, company among the Cavs retired numbers
Commentator Terry Pluto says that for Cavs players, getting your number retired is often more about nostalgia than greatness
by WKSU's AMANDA RABINOWITZ


Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
 
Download (WKSU Only)

In March, the Cleveland Cavaliers will retire jersey No. 11. It was worn for 12 seasons by center Zydrunas Ilgauskas. The quiet, 7-foot-3 Lithuanian known to fans as ’Z’ now works in the Cavs front office. He played in a team record 771 games and is the all-time leader in rebounds. He will be the seventh player to see his number retired in Cleveland. WKSU commentator Terry Pluto talks about the others on the list who ---put together --- wouldn't likely win an NBA title. 

LISTEN: Terry Pluto commentary

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (3:32)


Retiring numbers is not all about greatness
Ilgaukis’ average of 13 points and eight rebounds “doesn’t exactly bring back memories of Wilt Chamberlin or … Kareem Abdul Jabbar,” Pluto acknowledges. But “retiring number is a nostalgia play and a lot of sports is about nostalgia.”

Some of the players whose numbers have been retired have a special meaning for the Cavs, even if they aren’t always clear.

Some that don't make sense
Nate Thurmond’s No. 42 is retired. He made the hall of fame, but by the time he played out his year and a half in Cleveland, his better days were passed.

“I found this one a bit strange,” says Pluto. But he cedes to basketball commentator Joe Tait, “who said that because Thurmond was from Akron, he helped spark the team to its first ever playoff in 1975, the ‘Miracle of Richfield’ year – he has a special place in Cavs history.”
 
And while to outsiders ‘The Miracle of Richfield” is a team that won one round of the playoffs, “people in Cleveland are taken with that team because it’s the first time a basketball team from here did anything.”

And firsts matter. Bingo Smith was on the first Cavs team. His number is retired, though “he was not an exceptional player.”

Some who stand out as greats 
Then there are the players who make more sense. Like No. 22, Larry Nance with “several All-Star teams, first slam dunk champion in NBA history” and No. 25 Mark Price.

“He’s the most popular player in Cavs history. I thought LeBron was passing him up until Lebron left. Price was a 6-foot guard with long jump shots. I thought Price was on his way to a Hall of Fame career, and he began ripping up his knee.”

Some could-have-beens
Then there’s Austin Carr, now the Cavs color man. He may have been one of the greatest college players ever,” says Pluto, averaging 34 points at Notre Dame. “Of course he’s here one year, begins breaking his foot, then he hurt his knee,” and plays with the team for a decade. Every time you see Austin Carr you think, ‘It could have been great,’” says Pluto.

Could they win a title collectively?
Together, he says, all those retired numbers would make a good team, but “I’m not sure win an NBA title with it. … What you don’t have … you don’t have a single Hall of Famer” who played in his prime with the Cavs.  

Pluto talks possibility of retiring LeBron's jersey and other players
Other options:
MP3 Download
(2:12)
Pluto talks how the Cavs are looking in the preseason
Other options:
MP3 Download
(5:59)
(Click image for larger view.)


Related WKSU Stories

Cleveland Cavalier shake up roster to make championship run
Thursday, February 18, 2010

Terry Pluto: Welcome back, Z
Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook





Stories with Recent Comments

FitzGerald isn't giving up, but many Stark voters are worried, wary and weary
SB5 stands for "Snow Ball 5" because voters have about a snow ball's chance of remembering what it was.

Columbus groups are trying to pass a Bill of Rights to combat fracking
Its about time we make a stand against the criminal actions of an entire Indsutry.

Crystal Ball says Ohio governor's race is done
How much is the Kasich campaign paying you to keep repeating the phrase "woman who is not his wife"? Fitzgerald was in the car with a friend who happens to be f...

Plane that crashed killing Case students is a popular training aircraft
The following is incorrect. The last few words should read "UNDER maximum gross take-off weight." “They have a normal take-off speed and all those take-off...

Exploradio: The never-ending war against superbugs
Super Federico ,we are so proud of you ,and very lucky to be among your friends . Keep it up human kind needs people like you to survive .Thanks for being so d...

Ohio's Lyme disease-carrying tick population is exploding
Interesting report. The last sentence needs some editing. It isn't a good idea to "save garments carrying ticks for analysis." The garments carrying t...

Teach for America enters third year in Ohio
For more background on TFA, check out http://reconsideringtfa.wordpress.com/

Faith leaders hold week-long prayer vigil at Ohio Statehouse
I think this is the wrong link to the audio. Its Andy Chow about cigarette taxes.

A $30 million plan to turn Cleveland's Public Square from gray to green
The current plan is for the Land Bank, RTA, and Mr. Jeremy Paris to run a bus line through the new Public Square and cutting the park in half. Save Public Squar...

Medina County residents question safety of proposed natural gas pipeline
I'm very concerned about this nexus project. I've received mail requesting my permission to allow the company to survey my property. I don't understand how thi...

Copyright © 2014 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University