Cleveland Cavaliers

  Cleveland Cavaliers  

Cavaliers Timeline


Expansion in Cleveland

The Cavaliers first began play in the NBA in 1970 as an expansion team under the ownership of Nick Mileti. Jerry Tomko, the father of future Major League Baseball pitcher Brett Tomko, submitted the winning entry to name the team the "Cavaliers" through a competition sponsored by the The Plain Dealer, supporters preferred it to "Jays", "Foresters" and "Presidents".

Ted Stepien Ownership

In 1980, after just a few months, Zingale sold the team to Nationwide Advertising magnate Ted Stepien on April 12, 1980. The new owner oversaw the hiring and firing of a succession of coaches and was involved in making a number of poor trade and free agent signing decisions. The result of Stepien's questionable trading acumen was the loss of several of the team's first-round draft picks, which led to a rule change in the NBA prohibiting teams from trading away first-round draft picks in consecutive years. This rule is known as the "Ted Stepien Rule."

The Gunds Take Over

Though Stepien eventually threatened to move the franchise to Toronto and rename it the Toronto Towers, brothers George and Gordon Gund purchased the franchise in the mid-1980s and decided to keep the team in Cleveland. Shortly after purchasing the Cavaliers in 1983, the Gunds changed the team colors from wine and gold to burnt orange and navy blue. Furthermore, they officially adopted "Cavs" as a shorter nickname for marketing purposes, as it had been used unofficially by fans and headline writers since the team's inception.

LeBron Leaves for Miami

Several losing seasons followed which saw the Cavaliers drop to the bottom of the league and become a perennial lottery draft team. After another disappointing season in 2002 - 2003, the Cavaliers landed the number one draft pick in the NBA Lottery. With it, the team selected local high school phenomenon and future NBA MVP LeBron James.

On July 8, 2010, James announced in a one hour show named The Decision on ESPN that he would be signing with the Miami Heat. During the 2010 offseason, after LeBron James left the team, the Cavaliers fired head coach Mike Brown, along with most of their coaching staff.

LeBron Returns

In what was billed as "The Essay" on July 11, 2014 via an essay written in Sports Illustrated, free agent LeBron James announced his return to the Cavaliers after leaving the team in 2010 under controversial circumstances. On July 15, the Cavaliers signed James' former Miami Heat teammate, swingman Mike Miller who was part of Miami's two NBA championship seasons, coming over from the Memphis Grizzlies. The next day, the Cavaliers signed another one of James' former two-time champion Heat teammates, swingman James Jones to a one-year contract.

NBA Final Winners

NBA Finals - 2016
The 2016 NBA Finals was the championship series of the 2016 playoffs of the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the conclusion of the 2015 - 2016 season. The Eastern Conference champion Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Western Conference champion Golden State Warriors 4 - 3 in a rematch of the 2015 NBA Finals, which Golden State won. It was the 14th rematch of the previous NBA Finals in history, and the first Finals since 2008 in which the number one seed in each conference met. It was the second straight rematch in back-to-back years, as the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs played each other in 2013 and 2014.

Golden State, which owned home-court advantage, jumped to a 2 - 0 lead in the series while recording the largest combined margin of victory (48) through two games in NBA Finals history. Cleveland returned home and responded with a 120–90 win in Game 3, but the Warriors won Game 4 to take a commanding lead. However, the Cavaliers won the next three games to become the first team in Finals history to successfully overcome a 3 - 1 deficit. It also marked the first time since 1978 that Game 7 was won by the road team. The win by the Cavaliers was the first major professional sports championship won by a team based in Cleveland since 1964, and the first-ever championship won by the Cavaliers franchise.

For the first time since 2004, a new scheduling format was instituted for the Finals. In previous years, the Finals was played in a Thursday - Sunday - Tuesday scheme. However, the league changed its scheduling to ensure an extra day off for both teams, which have to travel from one city to another during the duration of the series. This, along with the designated travel day, took place after Games 2, 4, 5, and 6.

Cavaliers Primary Logo History Cavaliers Alternate Logo History No Wordmark Logo History


Team Information Team History


Cavaliers - Jerry Tomko, the father of future Major League Baseball pitcher Brett Tomko, submitted the winning entry to name the team the "Cavaliers" through a competition sponsored by the The Plain Dealer, supporters preferred it to "Jays", "Foresters" and "Presidents."

Quicken Loans Arena
2005 - present
  • Gund Arena
  • 1994 - 2004

Coliseum at Richfield
1974 - 1994
Cleveland Arena
1970 - 1974

Dan Gilbert, Usher Raymond, Gordon Gund
2004 - present
Gordon and George Gund III
1983 - 2004
Ted Stepien
1980 - 1983
Joe Zingale
1979 - 1980
Nick Mileti
1970 - 1979

Established: 1970

League History:
National Basketball Association
1970 - present

Team History:
Cleveland Cavaliers
1970 - present

NBA Championships: 1

Retired Numbers:
7 Bobby "Bingo" Smith
11 Žydrūnas Ilgauskas
22 Larry Nance
25 Mark Price
34 Austin Carr
42 Nate Thurmond
43 Brad Daugherty
- Joe Tait

Mascots: 2010 - present 2003 - present 1995 - 1999

The Official Site of the Cleveland Cavaliers

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