“Home is where the heart is, and my heart will forever be in Cleveland” says Anderson Varejão in his farewell to Cleveland, Ohio.
It was announced on Thursday, February 18th that the Cleveland Cavalier power forward would be heading to the Portland Trail Blazers and that the Cavs would acquire forward Channing Frye from the Orlando Magic.
Varejão was the teams longest-tenured player, spending a whopping 12 years on the team. He was drafted by the Orlando Magic in the second round of the 2004 NBA Draft and was traded to the Cavs shortly after, where he’s been ever since.
Over the years, Varejão has put up countless phenomenal fights, pushed through some injuries, become a fan favorite, received the nickname “Wild Thing”, and always made being a loyal player a top priority of his.
It has been a tough year for Andy. After returning from a torn Achilles tendon this season, Wild Thing couldn’t manage to find his flow and land a consistent spot with the coaches.
Andy took to his Instagram account today to tell his team, favorite city, and long-time fans goodbye.
Dear Cavs Fans Everywhere, For the last 12 years, I have had the honor of representing the city of Cleveland and the Cavaliers organization, and for that I will forever be grateful. Coming over from Spain at the young age of 21 was not easy, but as soon as I put on a Cavs jersey and stepped on the court, I felt at home. There were seasons we played well together, and there were seasons we struggled together. We had playoff runs, and we had championship runs. Over the last 12 seasons we have had many ups and downs, but no matter the product on the court one thing never changed… The unwavering support from all of you, the fans. Whether you were watching on TV, listening on the radio, or in the Q screaming at the top of your lungs, we felt your energy and support. Cleveland fans are simply the best. There is nothing like walking on the streets on a freezing cold day and hearing fans scream your name, then stopping to talk to those same fans. There is nothing like looking into the crowd at the Q and seeing over 20,000 people wearing wigs to match your hair. Those are feelings I will cherish for the rest of my life and never forget. In a similar way to how Brazil holds a special place in my heart, Cleveland has also become a part of me. I consider everyone in the organization as family – from ownership, the entire front office, all of the coaches I have had over the years, and every single employee from top to bottom – thank you. The city of Cleveland is truly a special place. I have seen players and coaches come and go, but through it all I have always known Cleveland is where I want to retire. But life doesn't always work the way you want it to, and at the end of the day, the saying "this is a business" is unfortunately true. So with that, I say goodbye. But more importantly, I say thank you. Thank you for your support. Thank you for coming out every night whether we were winning or losing. And thank you for giving me the best 12 years of my life. Home is where the heart is, and my heart will forever be in Cleveland. Anderson Varejao
Varejao's instagram post has me in tears 😭 #WildThing
— Nicole Bienvenue (@Nbienvenue_15) February 19, 2016
Varejao's Instagram post made me cry
— Leo LoDuca (@leo_loduca) February 19, 2016
That Anderson Varejao instagram post has me quite emotional.
— Live, Laugh, Lose (@demeatloaf) February 20, 2016
I will personally miss Anderson Varejao very much. He embodied the spirit of Cleveland and was always a first-class guy. Bad move #Cavaliers
— Brian Dulik (@BrianDulik) February 18, 2016
You will truly be missed, Wild Thing. It was an honor to have had such a loyal and determined player with us through the good and the bad, good luck on your new journey!