“He meant everything to me” LeBron James reveals veteran who helped him transition from rookie into professional during his Cavaliers stint

Every athlete has a story behind their success. They have inspiration who helped them to shine like stars. LeBron James also has a story behind his success.

Although LeBron James is now widely regarded as one of the best players in NBA history, he was once a young man in need of direction and advice. James was mentored by a seasoned Cavaliers centre in his first year.

Prior to the 2014 event when Zydrunas Ilgauskas’ jersey was retired,LeBron James reflected on his time spent with the Lithuanian centre. James had already spent four years at South Beach by that point, while Ilgauskas had retired from professional basketball for three years.

“I talk to Z very often, probably once or twice a month,” James stated. “He meant everything to me. When you come in as a rookie you try to find a leader, that veteran, that guy who’s been around to learn the ropes from. He taught me how to be a professional on and off the floor. That’s something you cannot ever take for granted. He was everything to me. From Day One, I knew he was going to be a guy I would always be with,” James went on.

In Cleveland, James went to celebrate Big Z’s retirement. As per reports, the company worked with LeBron to figure out his schedule. James’s confirmation that he will be there at the retirement ceremony caused the Cavaliers to mark the day on their calendars with extreme urgency.

That was a clever move on James’s part. This proves he didn’t hate the Cavaliers or its players in any way. Moving to South Beach was motivated purely by his own whims. Having Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh on his team was important to him because he thought it would increase his chances of winning a championship.

James was seen as a terrible person throughout those times. Many have forgotten that he also brought Ilgauskas to the Miami Heat with him. After appearing in 72 games (51 starts) with the Heat, who made it all the way to the 2011 NBA Finals, Ilgauskas retired. The Dallas Mavericks were a tough nut to crack for them. Z finally retired his jersey and shoes, but he did it without an NBA championship ring.

Regardless, Ilgauskas has no need to feel remorse. Sure, championships feel great, but not everyone gets to see their jersey in the ex-bucket.


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