Ilguaskas adopts two orphans

Updated: September 30, 2009, 9:37 AM ET
Associated Press

CLEVELAND -- Zydrunas Ilgauskas added one big teammate this summer -- and two little ones.

The Cavaliers center and his wife, Jennifer, adopted two young boys, orphan brothers from his native Lithuania.

Ilgauskas adopted the 4- and 5-year-olds from an orphanage in his hometown of Kaunas, ithuania.

"Beautiful boys," Ilgauskas said. "I became a father overnight."

The 7-foot-3 center said the two children, Povilas and Deividas, do not speak any English and are adjusting to life in the U.S. Ilgauskas said being a father has given him a new appreciation for some of his teammates with families.

"I'm not sleeping as much, but I'm enjoying the heck out of it," he said. "It's been a blast. It's been challenging at times but all in all it's been a great experience. We've got a big family now. I'm at a happy place in my life right now. The kids just completed our family."

Two years ago, Jennifer lost twins late in her pregnancy.

Ilgauskas also got a new teammate this summer as the Cavs acquired All-Star Shaquille O'Neal from Phoenix. With O'Neal aboard, Ilgauskas, who overcame major foot injuries early in his career and has played at least 65 games in each of the past seven seasons, will come off the bench.

That's fine with him.

"At this point in my career, I really want to win," Ilgauskas said. "I'm 34 years old and I want to win a championship. Whatever helps me get that, I'm all for it. Shaq is the best center I ever played against, so if anybody is going to replace me in the starting lineup I don't mind it being him at all."

So what's it going to be like banging with Shaq every day in practice?

"I won't do that," he cracked. "Somebody else is going to have to do that, otherwise I won't last until Christmas."


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press