INDEPENDENCE (92.3 The Fan – Larry Nance Jr. is conflicted.
On one hand he would love to be able to wear his dad’s retired No. 22 jersey that hangs in the rafters at Quicken Loans Arena.
On the other, he would like to blaze his own trail with the Cavaliers.
“I’m 24 right now,” Nance Jr., said Wednesday. “We will revisit it in the summer, but with everything that happened so fast I wasn’t about to go to Cavs management say, ‘Hey what would you think about taking 22 down?’
“But I don’t want to see it come down. If there is some way where I could even drop the ‘Jr.’ off my jersey and wear the ‘Nance’ No. 22 I’d love to keep it up there. I’d also love to wear 22, but I just don’t want to see it come down.”
Thursday night Nance Jr., who is an Akron native and Revere High School alum, will make his Quicken Loans Arena debut as a member of the Cavaliers in front of his father, who played 7 seasons for the Cavs and made 2 All-Star appearances, and family against Washington.
“I’m just going to enjoy it,” Nance Jr., who said he looked forward to his trips to Cleveland as a Laker, said. “Obviously when I’m in the game I have one focus and that is to win.”
Over the weekend in Los Angeles the younger Nance paid tribute to his father by emulating the dunk that helped the retired Nance win the contest in 1984 as a member of the Phoenix Suns. Nance Jr. even wore a replica jersey for the special dunk that he tired to keep a secret from his dad leading up to the event.
“The dunk contest was a blast,” Nance Jr. said. “Those are moments that I don’t know if any father or son has ever had. That’s, to me, the coolest part of it all and I’m already having several pictures blown up to get framed.”
After being acquired from the Lakers during a trade deadline day bonanza that saw the Cavs reshape their roster, Nance will focus on what he can do to help the Cavs get back to the NBA Finals for a fourth straight year and hopefully win it again.
In 2 games Nance has totaled 18 points, 13 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocked shots in just under 46 minutes for the Cavs.
“At the end of the day it’s just basketball,” Nance Jr. said of the advice he’s received from his father. “I’ve already started off better than [Larry Sr.] did. When he got traded here I think they lost 8 in a row so I think I’m doing pretty good.
“Make winning plays. They traded for me for a reason, so play that way.”
So what’s been the most difficult part of the transition for him back to northeast Ohio?
“Trying to convince my mom that I’m not living at home,” Nance said. “We’re out looking for rental properties and she’s like, ‘Our basement is pretty nice.'”