The Greater Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame just announced their latest group of former athletes and sports media personalities that have represented Cleveland area sports over the years. This year’s class is the first class inducted since 2019. Those selected this year include Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Larry Nance Sr. from the Cleveland Cavaliers, PGA Golfer Ben Curtis and Sports Broadcaster Les Levine in the Cleveland market.
The Greater Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame was founded back in 1976 and to be inducted one should be living in the greater Cleveland area which include all the counties like Lorain and Ashtabula. Former inductees have included former Cleveland Indians Travis Hafner and Rick Manning along with former football players like Ohio State Buckeye Tom Tupa.
The ceremonies for the induction are scheduled for October 19th at the downtown Marriott at Key Tower.
Ilgauskas and Nance Sr. are former Cavaliers. Big Z is often how Cavs fans remember IIgauskas. He was drafted by the Cavs in 1996 and played for 12 seasons with the Wine and Gold. He made the NBA All-Star Game twice in 2003 and 2005. He played on Cavs teams that went to the playoffs six years including their first NBA Finals in 2007. Big Z still holds records for the Cavs in offensive rebounds with 2,336 and blocked shots with 1,269. He is the only Cavs player to have over 10,000 points, 5,000 rebounds and 1000 blocks with the Cavs.
Nance Sr. finished his career with the Cavaliers after coming over to them from the Phoenix Suns in 1987. He spent his last seven seasons helping the Cavs to great success and several seasons of going to the NBA playoffs. He averaged nearly 17 points while he played for the Cavs. He finished with just over 1000 blocks and 7,257 points in his time with the Cavs. He was a great big man who played excellent defense. He is the only Cavalier in history to make the NBA All-Defensive Team in 1989, 1992 and 1993.
Ben Curtis, the PGA golfer, has had great success in professional golf. Curtis was the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year in 2003. He’s won four PGA tour tournaments. He is best known in his rookie year on tour as winning the British Open (now referred to as The Open) in 2003. It was a great way to make his mark in the world of golf and has represented Greater Cleveland well as he’s a current resident out in Kent, Ohio.
Finally, there is Les Levine who was a long-time sports broadcasting fixture in Cleveland. Levine recently died after battling Parkinson’s and Diabetes. He is best known for his sports shows on the radio and he liked to debate the fans that would call into the show. He worked as well with the Cavs, the Browns and the Indians usually with pre or post-game shows.