Cavs legends Larry Nance, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, and others to become Hall of Famers.
The Cavs will see franchise legends Larry Nance and Zydrunas Ilgauskas join PGA player Ben Curtis and former sports media personality Les Levine as inductees into the Greater Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame. The ceremony will be held on Tuesday, October 19 at Key Tower’s Cleveland Marriot Downtown.
The Greater Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame has been around since 1976 and has inducted new people every year, save for 2020. In 2019, Urban Meyer headlined the class, while Ellis Burks headlined 2018.
Former Cavs players Earl Boykins, Austin Carr, and Campy Russell have been inducted already.
Larry Nance and Zydrunas Ilgauskas are deserving to represent the Cavs
Nance and Ilgauskas are two of the most iconic and most beloved members of the Cavaliers, and their induction is a fantastic way to honor them.
Nance was part of those fun squads from the 80s, that constantly couldn’t get past Michael Jordan. Despite that, the team was loaded with talented names like Brad Daugherty, Mark Price, Ron Harper, Craig Ehlo, and of course Nance. During his time with the Cavs, Nance averaged 16.8 points per game, 8.2 rebounds per game, and 2.2 blocks per game.
His number 22 was retired by the organization until his son, Larry Nance Jr., joined the team in 2017 and the number was unretired for him to wear.
For Ilgauskas, whose number 11 is also retired now, his arrival to the status of a legend seemed like it would never happen. From the jump, Ilgauskas was not even the first center the Cavaliers took in 1996, selecting Vitaly Potapenko with the No. 12 pick in the draft ahead of Ilgauskas. Then the injuries started to mount up. He missed two full seasons and most of two others to start his career. In five seasons, he had played only 111 games out of a possible 410. He was toast. Done.
So much so that the Cavs drafted yet another center, Chris Mihm at No. 7 overall in the 2000 NBA Draft to replace Ilgauskas. Then in the 2001-2002 season, Ilgauskas somehow played 62 games in limited action. The next season, 2002-2003, Ilgauskas was an All-Star.
Never a career built on athleticism, just talent, Ilgauskas was able to find it in him to carve out a great career. One that may have led him to the NBA Hall of Fame had his feet not complicated the situation as much as they did. His skillset was unmatched, and his touch with the ball as a shooter was not something people saw regularly in this era of basketball. Everyone was looking for the next Shaquille O’Neal, not a mid-range shooter like Ilgauskas.
Imagine his numbers had he played those early five seasons.
Both Ilgauskas and Nance proved their worth to the Cavaliers franchise and have earned this honor. Congratulations to both men.