The Cleveland Cavaliers are Cleveland, Ohio’s professional basketball team with the NBA. The team competes as a member of the Eastern Conference Central Division. It got its start as an expansion team in 1970 along with the Portland Trail Blazers and the Buffalo Braves. Originally, the team played their home games at Cleveland Arena from 1970-1974, followed by a stay at Richfield Coliseum from 1974-1994. But since 1994, the team has moved to their current home, the RocketMortgage Fieldhouse in downtown Cleveland. The Cavaliers share the stadium with the AHL’s Cleveland Monsters.
The Cavaliers entered their inaugural season with a 15 game losing streak. The team struggled landing no better than sixth place in their conference during their first five seasons. It wasn’t until 1976 that the team won their first Central Division title, which was also their first winning season and playoff appearance in franchise history. The team even advanced all the way to the Eastern Conference finals that year.
The team was later purchased by Ted Stepien in 1980, whose tenure had six coaching changes, several questionable trades and drafts, and some of the team’s lowest attendance records. In fact, Stepien’s tenure led to a reported $15 million in financial losses and may have been responsible for the teams 24 game losing streak from 1981-82 and 1982-83 seasons.
But things were looking up after George and Gordon Gund purchased the franchise in 1983.
During the latter half of the 1980s and much of the 1990s, the team were regular layoff contenders. The Cavaliers under Gund were led by players including Mark Price and Brad Daugherty and reached the 1992 Eastern Conference Finals.
LeBron James Era
Later in 2003, the franchise was awarded top overall pick in the draft and they selected LeBron James. This turned out to be a pivotal move for the franchise, as James helped forge the franchise into regular playoff contenders by 2005. The team even made their first appearance in the NBA Finals in 2007 after winning their first Eastern Conference Championship. LeBron briefly left the Cavaliers and returned in 2014, leading the team to four straight NBA Finals appearances. This drive led to the franchise’s first championship season in 2016 when they defeated the Golden State Warriors.
Today, the Cavaliers has made 22 playoff appearances, won seven Central Division titles, five Eastern Conference titles, and one NBA title.
Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse Stadium
The Cleveland Gladiators are proud to play their games from Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. This multi-purpose arena in Cleveland, Ohio also serves as the home for the NBA Cleveland Cavaliers as well as the AHL’s Cleveland Monsters.
The arena opened in October 1994 as part of the Gateway Sports and Entertainment Complex and Progressive Field, which opened earlier that year in April. The facility replaced the Richfield Coliseum as the primary entertainment facility for the region.
When the arena opened, it was known as the Gund Arena, named after former Cavaliers owner Gordon Gund who had paid for naming rights. But in August 2005, the arena was renamed Quicken Loans Arena after his lending company. The name stuck until April 2019, when the mortgage lending service renamed the arena after its online mortgage lending service, Rocket Mortgage. The renaming came along with the facility’s renovations and expansion.
Notable Sporting Events and Records
Top-Five Franchise Scoring Leaders
- LeBron James (23,119)
- Zydrunas Ilgauskas (10,616)
- Brad Daugherty (10,389)
- Austin Carr (10,265)
- Mark Price (9,543)
Top-Five Franchise Most minutes played
- LeBron James 33,130
- Zydrunas Ilgauskas 21,820
- Hot Rod Williams 20,802
- Brad Daugherty 20,029
- Bingo Smith 19,221
NBA Most Valuable Player
Won by LeBron James during the 2009-2010 season
NBA Rookie of the Year
Won by LeBron James during the 2004 season
Won by Kyrie Irving during the 2012 season
NBA Coach of the Year
Won by Bill Fitch during the 1976 season
Won by Mike Brown during the 2009 season
NBA Sportsmanship Award
Won by Terrell Brandon during the 1997 Season