Cavaliers join Hughes at brother's funeral in St. Louis

Updated: May 18, 2006, 3:29 PM ET
Associated Press

ST. LOUIS -- LeBron James and his Cleveland Cavaliers teammates took a solemn break from their playoff series Tuesday to attend the funeral of the 20-year-old brother of guard Larry Hughes.

Larry Hughes
AP Photo/James A. Finley"I am my brother's keeper. My life is his world. His life is my everything," Larry Hughes said of his brother in the funeral program.

The Cavaliers flew to St. Louis after beating the Detroit Pistons 74-72 on Monday night to even the best-of-seven second-round playoff series at 2-2. Hughes has missed the past two games -- both wins -- to be with his family following Justin Hughes' death last week.

Hundreds of people attended the service for Justin Hughes, who was born with a heart defect and had a transplant in 1997. The brothers were close -- Larry Hughes chose to play his lone season of college basketball, in 1997-98, at Saint Louis University in part to stay near his brother.

In a program for the funeral service, the elder Hughes wrote a tribute to his brother: "I am my brother's keeper. My life is his world. His life is my everything."

The Cavaliers arrived together by bus at the New Sunnymount Missionary Baptist Church in St. Louis. Most of the team sat in the first few rows of the church, and the Rev. N.E. Owens thanked them for their support during his sermon.

The team then traveled to suburban Detroit for Game 5 on Wednesday night. Cavaliers coach Mike Brown said Tuesday afternoon that there was no timetable for Hughes' return.

Cavaliers guard Flip Murray said players hugged Larry Hughes and his mother at the service.

"We went there to show our condolences and wish the best for him and his family," Murray said at the team's hotel.

Guard Damon Jones added: "It's a tough situation, but it was good for us to be there for him and his family."

In addition to missing the two playoff games, Larry Hughes missed 45 regular-season games with a finger injury.

The Cavaliers have worn black bands on the left shoulders of their uniforms as a memorial to Justin Hughes, who attended a few games in Cleveland this season. James and Jones wore sweatbands with Larry Hughes' No. 32 as well.


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press

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