As the hailing of Zydrunas Ilgauskas as a lifetime achievement award recipient by the Greater Cleveland Sports Awards nears, some of his former teammates looked back at fond memories of Big Z.
One of them is Washington Wizards head coach Scott Brooks, who used to be Zydrunas Ilgauskas’ teammate with the Cleveland Cavaliers during the 1997-98 season. Brooks shared, via Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com, that Ilgauskas was a great teammate but a “horrible” driver, and that he used to witness the Lithuanian center bump into cars a lot when they go out for dinner.
“I don’t know why in the world the state of Ohio would give him a driver’s license,” Brooks said. “It was an adventure going to dinner every night and there were many times he was bumping cars as he was backing up trying to get out of the restaurant. Just a horrible driver, but a great teammate.”
“One of my favorite teammates of all time. When I was on the team, he took me in and I stayed with him for two months. A lot of interesting nights. A lot of interesting nights.”
Zydrunas Ilgauskas went on to play 13 seasons in the NBA, 12 of them with the Cavs. He established himself as one of the better big men during his playing days, and was even named an All-Star twice. His jersey was retired by the Cavs back in 2016.