Cavaliers Go to the Dogs

The Cavaliers are a tight squad. You can sense the camaraderie just by watching them in warm-ups, at practice or on the bench. You can tell: these guys are actually friends.

But when the bright lights flicker off and the Cavaliers head for home, that’s when they turn to another friend. Man’s Best Friend, in fact. And like many of you fans, the players’ dogs are as well-loved as a member of the family. asked some of the guys about their precious pooches, and in return, we got some very interesting tales about the Cavaliers’ plethora of pups – from Big Z’s curious canine to the international tale of Lorenzen Wright’s world-famous Karl Von Haus Neubrend.

Enjoy …

Daniel Gibson
I got Diamond and Champ – both German Shepherds. I was always fascinated by that breed of dog. They’re so smart. You always see them as police dogs. I wanted to see if I had my own what they’d be like.

They’re perfect – they each have their own personality.

Diamond, she’ll run around all day. She wants to jump on you. Champ’s more the guard dog. He’s not friendly to anybody but me.

Champ’s a biter. And he barks every time somebody knocks or rings the doorbell. He hasn’t bit anybody to where they’ve cried, but he bit one of my cousin’s shorts and was tugging at them because he got too close to me one time. He’s real protective.

I kind of always wanted two, but I didn’t think I could handle them. I got Diamond first, and she was tearing everything up. So I decided to get her a little buddy.

I’d say Diamond is more of my favorite because, you know, if I get into bed she’ll come jump on the bed and lay down next to me. Champ’s more do-his-own-thing, but he’ll sit at the door and won’t let anyone come near the room.

When I come home or off the road, they’re sitting at my front door, waiting for me. My cousin lives with me, so he lets them out, feeds them, and walks them. And when I come home, they’re ready to jump on me and go nuts.

We make sure they get fed, get walked and stay happy.

Zydrunas Ilgauskas
Beckham’s a Newfoundland – a big dog. It’s like a water dog. He’s three.

Sometimes he goes to the neighbor’s house. The neighbors have a sign, and if he goes over, they have a sign that says “HE’S HERE” and they put it out and we know where he’s at. I couple times I went looking for him and he was there and the neighbor asked: ‘You want a beer?’ And I said sure. So, we thought about making a sign that says “THEY’RE HERE.”

Beckham got skunked two days ago. I was so mad. I was sitting at home, watching TV, I was about to go to bed – I was beat. And I hear these noises and my wife’s screaming and I’m like, “What the hell?!” And he’s coughing and it smelled terrible! The skunk got him right in the mouth. Beckham must have been sniffing him, then – BOOM!

I opened up all the doors and put him in the garage for the night. He was p*ssed.

He was at the beauty parlor from 11 to 6 the next day. They were washing him, drying him, washing him, drying him. The place we usually take him – they wouldn’t take him.

Mo Williams
I have three pit bulls and I breed about 30 at my kennel back in Mississippi. I have Capone, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

Hillary Clinton is an all-white dog. Barrack Obama is a brown dog with a black face. Actually Barack and Hillary are brother and sister – they came from the same litter. And Capone is their father. So that's something to think about.

Pit bulls are working dogs – they’re made to pull things. They have it in them. It’s unbelievable – the bone structure and how muscular they are. That’s the difference. You raise them to be those types of dogs and that’s the way they’ll be.

It’s definitely a breed I love. And I love the fact that the breed has a bad name. I’m a man who loves to prove people wrong, and I take great pride in raising my dogs the right way. When (Capone)’s out in public, he’s playful, he rarely barks. This is my personal dog, but you know every dog has a different personality.

The Mike Vick thing actually helped because people started thinking, ‘Mo’s got those dogs, so he must be doing the same thing.’ So people wanted to come see. The local news came out a couple times. And that’s free publicity. So we started selling dogs here and there because people who know dogs, know the difference between fighting dogs and pets.

It started out with Capone and a dog named Merlot. We started with those two and we had our first litter. We sold some, we kept the best ones. And we went on and on with every litter and we’re going on Year 3 now. It’s continuing to grow. We have a website

I’ve never experienced (the fighting). My dog’s two-and-a-half years old and he’s been in my home with my kids – literally in the house. He doesn’t even like to go outside. You come in the house, he doesn’t even bark – he’ll just look at you. My three-year-old, he’ll just pull him by the tail. The dog’ll just look at him.

Every pit bull has that aggression in them. But it’s all in how you raise them. And we make a point of emphasis to raise our dogs the right way, even as puppies. We separate them and let them interact with one another so they learn to interact with other dogs.

You have an occasional blow-up, but that’s just part of anything. If you put 30 people together, someone gets to arguing and someone else has to break something up. Same with dogs. The next day, they’re cool.

Once you’re around them, you see – they have a life of their own just like we do. Female dogs, you know, they have boy friends and girl friends.

It’s funny, I have two male dogs that I breed with this female, and they fight over this dog! If that female is out, they can’t be out with her. Because they get to arguing with each other and you have to break them up. So it’s funny. The females in the dog world make males act the same way women make men act.

(Breeding pit bulls) is something that I love to do. When I was in Milwaukee, probably about four of my teammates had one of my dogs. Darnell (Jackson) is going to get one. It’s a business. And I treat it like one. But it’s something I love to do.

I’ve always had dogs; always loved dogs.

LeBron James
A mutual friend brought King down from Youngstown. I had seen it before, but I hadn’t seen one in person. It was about four years ago. I got him when he was a little baby. I liked his color. He’s grey – with blue eyes. He’s pretty. He’s got the clipped ears and everything.

Other guys have a lot of dogs; I got one. I have two kids, one dog and a picket fence.

Cane Corsos are real playful, they’re very active. They're really good with kids. He’s been around long enough now – 4 ½ years – where he doesn’t bother my kids.

I guess you could say that King has the same personality as I have. He’s big and he looks fierce, but you know, he’s just a lot of fun and very playful. Yeah, you could say that he's like me.

Lorenzen Wright
Rottweilers just get a bad name because they’re so BIG. I got a neighbor who’s got a Labrador and they’re supposed to be friendly dogs and I’ve seen them almost tear a poodle in half.

My dog, Karl, has been in Germany for like the last four or five months. He’s training. I have him in shows.

The guy over there has probably the No. 1 kennel in the world – Von Haus Neubrend. That’s where Karl’s from, and that’s his full name: “Karl Von Haus Neubrend.” You can call him up on the Internet and find out all kinds of stuff – how big he is, how nice he is, where he comes from. You can tour the kennel in Germany.

In Germany, they’re so serious about the breed. The ancestors you can track all the way down – generation to generation – 20, 30 years of dogs. You can see his mother, his grandfather, his grandmother.

They just breed them differently there. The bloodlines are pure, so you know exactly what you’re going to get over there.

Carmelo wants one. I've sold them to Marvin Williams, Josh Smith -- a lot of guys on the team. Once the guys find out about it, all I have to do is bring Karl in and everybody wants one.

The kennel I got him from is the top kennel in the world and the guy who I bought it from said, himself: ‘This is the best dog that I’ve ever bred.’ That’s why he’s with him over in Germany right now, to make sure he can get every title you can possibly have.

Karl’s a stud dog, and he’s only three. He’s in his prime right now.

Of course, there is no perfect dog. Every dog has a flaw. You just have to pick your poison. You have to be kind of discreet. I’m not going to breed my Rottweiler to your mall-dog. If I breed my Rotweiller with your little ugly mall-dog and then you get some puppies out of it and you bring it to the show and say: ‘This is Karl’s dog.’ People will come to the show and say Karl’s producing hound dogs!

That messes Karl up.

My kids love the dogs. I let them ride the dogs around the house. I don’t have any mean dogs; they’re all nice.

Whenever you see a dog, the dog’s always happy to see you. No matter what. He doesn’t want anything – he just wants to make you happy. He’s man’s best friend. Throw the ball to him – he’s happy.