The Brooklyn Nets are an American professional basketball team based in the borough of Brooklyn, in New York City. The Nets compete in the National Basketball Association as a member of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference; the team plays its home games at Barclays Center. They are one of two NBA teams located in New York City; the team was established in 1967 as a charter franchise of the NBA's rival league, the American Basketball Association. They played in New Jersey as the New Jersey Americans during their first season, before moving to Long Island in 1968 and changing their name to the New York Nets. During this time, the Nets won two ABA championships. In 1976, the ABA merged with the NBA, the Nets were absorbed into the NBA along with three other ABA teams. In 1977, the team returned to New Jersey and played as the New Jersey Nets from 1977 to 2012. During this time, the Nets won two consecutive Eastern Conference championships, but failed to win a league title. In the summer of 2012, the team moved to Barclays Center, took its current geographic name.
The Brooklyn Nets were founded in 1967 and played in Teaneck, New Jersey, as the New Jersey Americans. In its early years, the team led a nomadic existence, moving to Long Island in 1968 and playing in various arenas there as the New York Nets. Led by Hall of Famer Julius "Dr. J" Erving, the Nets won two ABA championships in New York before becoming one of four ABA teams to be admitted into the NBA as part of the ABA–NBA merger in 1976; the team moved back to New Jersey in 1977 and became the New Jersey Nets. During their time in that state, the Nets saw periods of losing and misfortune intermittent with several periods of success, which culminated in two consecutive NBA Finals appearances in the 2001–02 and 2002–03 seasons by teams led by point guard Jason Kidd. After playing 35 seasons in New Jersey, the team moved back to the state of New York, changed its geographic name to Brooklyn, began playing in the new Barclays Center, starting with the 2012–13 NBA season; the Boston Celtics were once rivals of the Nets during the early 2000s because of their respective locations and their burgeoning stars.
The Nets were led by Jason Kidd and Kenyon Martin, while the Celtics were experiencing newfound success behind Paul Pierce and Antoine Walker. The rivalry began to heat up in the 2002 Eastern Conference Finals, preceded by trash-talking from the Celtics who claimed Martin was a "fake" tough guy. Things progressed as the series started, on-court tensions seemed to spill into the stands. Celtic fans berated Kidd and his family with chants of "Wife Beater!" in response to Kidd's 2001 domestic abuse charge. When the series returned to New Jersey, Nets fans responded, with some brandishing signs that read "Will someone please stab Paul Pierce?" Referring to a night club incident in 2000 in which Pierce was stabbed 11 times. When asked about the fan barbs being traded, Kenyon Martin stated, "Our fans hate them, their fans hate us." Bill Walton said at the time that Nets-Celtics was the "beginning of the next great NBA rivalry" during the Eastern Conference Finals in 2002 with the Nets advancing to the NBA Finals, though New Jersey swept Boston in the 2003 playoffs.
On November 28, 2012 there were indications that the rivalry might be rekindled when an altercation occurred on the court, resulting in the ejection of Rajon Rondo, Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries. Rondo was suspended for two games in the aftermath, while Kevin Garnett were fined; the story was revisited on December 25, when Wallace grabbed Garnett's shorts and the two had to be broken up by referees and players alike. However, the rivalry between the Nets and the Celtics appeared cooled off by the June 2013 blockbuster trade that dealt Celtics stars Garnett and Paul Pierce to the Nets in exchange for Wallace and others; this move was billed as a merger of the two Atlantic Division teams. Celtics announcer Sean Grande said, "It's as if you found a great home for these guys. You couldn't have found a better place; these guys will be in the New York market, they'll be on a competitive team, they'll stay on national TV. It's funny. So with Celtics fans feeling the way they do about the Heat, feeling the way they do about the Knicks, the Nets are going to become the second team now."
The Knicks–Nets rivalry has been a geographical one, with the Knicks playing in Madison Square Garden in the New York City borough of Manhattan, while the Nets played in the suburban area of Long Island and in New Jersey, since 2012 have been playing at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Media outlets have noted the Knicks–Nets rivalry's similarity to those of other New York City teams, such as the Major League Baseball Subway Series rivalry between the American League's New York Yankees and the National League's New York Mets, the National Football League rivalry between the National Football Conference's New York Giants and the American Football Conference's New York Jets, the result of the boroughs' proximity through the New York City Subway; the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn competed via the Dodgers–Giants rivalry, when the two teams were known as the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants. Like the Knicks and Nets, the Giants and Dodgers played in Manhattan and Brooklyn and were fierce intraleague rivals.
The rivalry between the New York Islanders and New York Rangers of the National Hockey League has taken on a similar dimension since the Islanders moved to
The Sacramento Kings are an American professional basketball team based in Sacramento, California. The Kings compete in the National Basketball Association as a member of the Western Conference's Pacific Division; the Kings are the only team in the major professional North American sports leagues located in Sacramento. The team plays its home games at the Golden 1 Center; the Kings are one of the oldest continuously operating professional basketball franchises in the nation. They originated in Rochester, New York, as the Rochester Seagrams in 1923 and joined the National Basketball League in 1945 as the Rochester Royals, they jumped to the Basketball Association of America, forerunner of the NBA, in 1948. As the Royals, the team was successful on the court, winning the NBA championship in 1951; the team, found it difficult to turn a profit in the comparatively small market of Rochester and relocated to Cincinnati in 1957, becoming the Cincinnati Royals. In 1972 the team relocated to Kansas City and was renamed the Kansas City-Omaha Kings because it split its home games between Kansas City and Omaha, Nebraska.
In 1975, the Kings ceased playing home games in Omaha and became the Kansas City Kings. The team again failed to find success in its market and moved to Sacramento in 1985; the Royals defected to the NBL's rival, the Basketball Association of America, in 1948. In 1949, as a result of that year's absorption of the NBL by the BAA, the Royals became members of the newly formed NBA along with the Fort Wayne Pistons, Minneapolis Lakers, Indianapolis Jets. A year the BAA absorbed the remaining NBL teams to become the National Basketball Association; the move to the BAA took away Rochester's profitable exhibition schedule, placed it in the same Western Division that Minneapolis was in. Of the two best teams in pro basketball, only one of them could play in the league finals from 1949 to 1954. Minneapolis, with George Mikan, was always a little better at playoff time than the Royals. With their smallish arena and now-limited schedule, the Royals became less profitable as Harrison maintained a remarkably high standard for the team, which finished no lower than second in its division in both the NBL and BAA/NBA from 1945 to 1954.
Harrison knew that the NBA was outgrowing Rochester, spent most of the 1950s looking for a buyer for his team. The Royals won the NBA title in 1951 by defeating the New York Knicks 4–3, it is the only NBA championship in the franchise's history. The title, did not translate into profit for the Royals; the roster turned over except for Bobby Wanzer. Now a losing team filled with rookies, the Royals still did not turn a profit. Meanwhile, the NBA was putting pressure on Harrison to relocate his team to a larger city. With this in mind, the 1956–57 season was the Royals' last in Rochester; the Royals' stay in Rochester featured the services of nine future members of the Basketball Hall of Fame, one member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, a Hollywood Walk of Famer: Al Cervi, Bob Davies, Alex Hannum, Les Harrison, Red Holzman, Arnie Risen, Maurice Stokes, Jack Twyman, Bobby Wanzer, Otto Graham, Chuck Connors and Jack McMahon. In April 1957, the Harrison brothers moved the Royals to Cincinnati; this move followed a well-received regular season game played at Cincinnati Gardens on February 1, 1957.
The change of venue had been said to have been suggested by Jack Twyman and Dave Piontek, who were two of several roster players on the new Royals from that region. Cincinnati, which had a strong college basketball fan base and no NFL franchise to compete with, was deemed the best choice for the Harrisons; the Royals name continued to fit in Cincinnati known as the "Queen City". During the team's first NBA draft in Cincinnati, the team acquired Clyde Lovellette and guard George King, they teamed with the 1–2 punch of Maurice Stokes and Twyman to produce a budding contender in the team's first season in the Queen City. Injury to Marshall and the loss of star guard Si Green to military service dropped the team into a tie for second place in the NBA Western Division during the 1957–58 season's second half. In the season's finale, All-Pro star Maurice Stokes struck his head when he fell after pursuing a rebound, he shook off the effects of the fall as he had been unconscious. After Game One in the playoffs three days Stokes' head injury was aggravated by airplane cabin pressure during the flight back to Cincinnati for Game Two.
He suffered a seizure and was permanently hospitalized, a tragedy that shook the team. Stokes, a tremendous talent who could play center and guard, was 2nd in the NBA in rebounds and 3rd in assists, a double-feat only Wilt Chamberlain has matched for a full season. Without Stokes, the team nearly folded. Fellow All-Star Twyman rose to All-Pro level the next two seasons for Cincinnati as the team posted two 19-win seasons; the 1958–59 Cincinnati team featured five rookies, with Lovellette and other key players having left the team in the wake of Stokes' tragic injury. The Harrisons, under pressure to sell to a local group, sold to a local ownership headed by Thomas Woods; the fact that Stokes was dumped by the team and the new ownership infuriated many. Jack Twyman came to the aid of his teammate, legally adopted Stokes. Raising funds for Stokes' medical treatment, Twyman helped him until his death in April 1970; the 1973 feature film Maurie, which co-starred actors Bernie Casey and Bo Svenson, dramatized their story.
Shooting for the beleaguered team, Twyman was the second NBA player to average 30 points per game for an NBA season. Twyman and Stokes were late
1989 NBA draft
The 1989 NBA draft took place on June 27, 1989, in New York City, New York, USA. Despite eight of the top ten picks being considered busts, including the first two picks Pervis Ellison and Danny Ferry, the draft did produce a lot of talented players such as Shawn Kemp, Glen Rice, Sean Elliott, Nick Anderson, Dana Barros, Tim Hardaway, Vlade Divac, Cliff Robinson, B. J. Armstrong and Mookie Blaylock, The draft was reduced from three rounds in the previous year to the two-round format that's still in use to the present day; as a result, NBA drafts from this season until 1995 produced the lowest amount of total draft picks selected at 54 overall selections. This was the first draft televised prime time on national television. 1989 NBA Draft
The Houston Rockets are an American professional basketball team based in Houston, Texas. The Rockets compete in the National Basketball Association, as a member of the league's Western Conference Southwest Division; the team plays its home games at the Toyota Center, located in downtown Houston. The Rockets have won four Western Conference titles; the team was established as the San Diego Rockets, an expansion team based in San Diego, in 1967. In 1971, the Rockets moved to Houston; the Rockets won only 15 games in their debut season as a franchise in 1967. In the 1968 NBA draft, the Rockets, picking first overall, selected power forward Elvin Hayes, who would lead the team to its first playoff appearance in his rookie season; the Rockets did not finish a season with a winning record until the 1976–77 season, when they traded for center Moses Malone. Malone went on to win the NBA Most Valuable Player award twice and led Houston to the conference finals in his first year with the team, he led the Rockets to the NBA Finals in 1981 where they were defeated in six games by the Boston Celtics, led by Larry Bird and future Rockets coach Kevin McHale.
In the 1984 NBA draft, the Rockets drafted center Hakeem Olajuwon, who would be paired with 7 feet 4 inches Ralph Sampson, forming one of the tallest front courts in the NBA. Nicknamed the "Twin Towers", they led the team to the 1986 NBA Finals—the second NBA Finals appearance in franchise history—where Houston was again defeated by the Boston Celtics; the Rockets continued to reach the playoffs throughout the 1980s, but failed to advance past the first round for several years following a second-round defeat to the Seattle SuperSonics in 1987. Rudy Tomjanovich took over as head coach midway through the 1991–92 season, ushering in the most successful period in franchise history; the Olajuwon-led Rockets went to the 1994 NBA Finals and won the franchise's first championship against Patrick Ewing and the New York Knicks. The following season, reinforced by another All-Star, Clyde Drexler, the Rockets repeated as champions with a four-game sweep of the Orlando Magic, who were led by a young Shaquille O'Neal and Penny Hardaway.
Houston, seeded sixth in the Western Conference during the 1995 playoffs, became the lowest-seeded team in NBA history to win the title. The Rockets acquired all-star forward Charles Barkley in 1996, but the presence of three of the NBA's 50 greatest players of all-time was not enough to propel Houston past the Western Conference Finals; each one of the aging trio had left the team by 2001, the Rockets of the early 2000s, led by superstars Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming, followed the trend of consistent regular season respectability followed by playoff underachievement as both players struggled with injuries. After Yao's early retirement in 2011, the Rockets entered a period of rebuilding dismantling and retooling their roster; the acquisition of franchise player James Harden in 2012 has launched the Rockets back into championship contention in the mid-2010s. Moses Malone, Hakeem Olajuwon and James Harden have been named the NBA's Most Valuable Player while playing for the Rockets, for a total of four MVP awards.
The Rockets, under general manager Daryl Morey, are notable for popularizing the use of advanced statistical analytics in player acquisitions and style of play. The Rockets were founded in 1967 in San Diego by Robert Breitbard, who paid an entry fee of US $1.75 million to join the NBA as an expansion team for the 1967–68 season. The NBA wanted to add more teams in the Western United States, chose San Diego based on the city's strong economic and population growth, along with the local success of an ice hockey team owned by Breitbard, the San Diego Gulls; the resulting contest to name the franchise chose the name "Rockets", which paid homage to San Diego's theme of "a city in motion" and the local arm of General Dynamics developing the Atlas missile and booster rocket program. Breitbard brought in Jack McMahon coach of the Cincinnati Royals, to serve as the Rockets' coach and general manager; the team, that would join the league along with the Seattle SuperSonics built its roster with both veteran players at an expansion draft, college players from the 1967 NBA draft, where San Diego's first draft pick was Pat Riley.
The Rockets lost 67 games in their inaugural season, an NBA record for losses in a season at the time. In 1968, after the Rockets won a coin toss against the Baltimore Bullets to determine who would have the first overall pick in the 1968 NBA draft, they selected Elvin Hayes from the University of Houston. Hayes improved the Rockets' record to 37 wins and 45 losses, enough for the franchise's first playoff appearance in 1969, but the Rockets lost in the semi-finals of the Western Division to the Atlanta Hawks, four games to two. Despite the additions of Calvin Murphy and Rudy Tomjanovich and the management of Hall of Fame coach Alex Hannum, the Rockets tallied a 67–97 record in the following two seasons and did not make the playoffs in either season; because of the low performance and attendance, Breitbard looked to sell the team, in 1971, Texas Sports Investments bought the franchise for $5.6 million, moved the team to Houston. The franchise became the first NBA team in Texas, the nickname "Rockets" took on greater relevance after the move, given Houston's long connection to the space industry.
Before the start of the 1971–72 season, Hannum left for the Denver Rockets of the American Basketball Association – renamed Denver Nuggets, who joined the NBA in 1976 – and Tex Winter was hired in his place. However, Winter's clashes with Hayes, due to a system that contrasted with the offensive style
The Charlotte Hornets are an American professional basketball team based in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Hornets compete in the National Basketball Association, as a member of the league's Eastern Conference Southeast Division; the team is owned by retired NBA player Michael Jordan, who acquired controlling interest in the team in 2010. The Hornets play their home games at the Spectrum Center in Uptown Charlotte; the original Hornets franchise was established in 1988 as an expansion team, owned by George Shinn. In 2002, Shinn's franchise became the New Orleans Hornets. In 2004, the NBA established the Charlotte Bobcats, regarded as a new expansion team at the time. In 2013, the New Orleans' franchise announced it would rebrand itself the New Orleans Pelicans returning the Hornets name and official history to Charlotte; the Bobcats were renamed the Charlotte Hornets for the 2014–15 season. In 1985, the NBA was planning to expand by three teams by the 1988–1989 season modified to include a total of four expansion teams.
George Shinn, an entrepreneur from Kannapolis, wanted to bring an NBA team to the Charlotte area, he assembled a group of prominent local businessmen to head the prospective franchise. The Charlotte area had long been a hotbed for college basketball. Charlotte was one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States, was one of the three in-state regional homes to the American Basketball Association's Carolina Cougars from 1969 to 1974. Despite doubt from critics, Shinn's ace in the hole was the Charlotte Coliseum, a state-of-the-art arena that would seat 24,000 spectators – the largest basketball-specific arena to serve as a full-time home for an NBA team. On April 5, 1987, then-NBA Commissioner David Stern called Shinn to tell him his group had been awarded the 24th NBA franchise, to begin play in 1988. Franchises were granted to Miami, Minneapolis-Saint Paul, Orlando; the new team was going to be called the Charlotte Spirit, but a name-the-team contest yielded "Hornets" as the winning choice.
The team received further attention when it chose teal as its primary color, setting off a sports fashion craze in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The team's uniforms, designed by international designer and North Carolina native Alexander Julian, featured a first for NBA uniforms—pin stripes. Similar designs by other teams followed. Shinn hired Carl Scheer as the team's first General Manager. Scheer preferred a roster of veteran players, hoping to put together a competitive team as soon as possible. Former college coach and veteran NBA assistant Dick Harter was hired as the team's first head coach. In 1988, the Hornets and the Miami Heat were part of the 1988 NBA Expansion Draft. Unlike many expansion franchises that invest in the future with a team composed of young players, Charlotte stocked its inaugural roster with several veterans in hopes of putting a competitive lineup on the court right away; the team had three draft picks at the 1988 NBA draft. The Hornets' first NBA game took place on November 4, 1988, at the Charlotte Coliseum, losing 133–93 to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Four days the team notched its first-ever victory over the Los Angeles Clippers, 117–105. On December 23, 1988, the Hornets gave their fans something to cheer about, beating Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls 103–101 in Jordan's first return to North Carolina as a professional; the Hornets finished their inaugural season with a record of 20–62. Scheer left prior to the 1989–90 season. Despite initial concerns that the Coliseum was too big, the Hornets were a runaway hit, leading the NBA in attendance, a feat they would achieve seven more times in Charlotte; the Hornets would sell out 364 consecutive games. The Hornets' second season was a struggle from start to finish. Members of the team rebelled against Dick Harter's defense-oriented style, he was replaced mid-season by assistant Gene Littles following an 8–32 start. Despite the change, the team continued to struggle, finishing the season with a disappointing 19–63 record; the team showed improvement during the following season. They won eight of their first fifteen games, including a 120–105 victory over the Washington Bullets.
However, the team went cold. The Hornets, who hosted the 1991 NBA All-Star Game, finished with a 26–56 record. Despite the team's seven-game improvement over the previous season, Gene Littles was fired at the end of the season and replaced by general manager Allan Bristow. With the first pick in the 1991 NBA draft, the Hornets drafted power forward Larry Johnson from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Johnson had an impact season, finishing among the league leaders in points and rebounds, winning the 1992 NBA Rookie of the Year Award. Additionally, Guard Kendall Gill led the club in scoring; the team stayed in contention for a playoff spot until March, but finished the year with a 31–51 record. The Hornets were in the lottery again in 1992 and won the second overall pick in the draft, using it to select Georgetown center Alonzo Mourning. Charlotte now had two 20–10 threats in Johnson and Mourning, who with Kendall Gill, formed the league's top young trio; the team finished their fifth season at 44–38, their first-ever winning record and good enough for the first playoff berth in franchise history.
Finishing fifth in the Eastern Conference, the Hornets upset the Boston Celtics in the first round, with Mourning winning the series with a 20-footer in game four. However, the Hornets lacked the experience and depth to defeat the New York Knicks, falling in five games in the second round; the Horn
Los Angeles Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers are an American professional basketball team based in Los Angeles. The Lakers compete in the National Basketball Association, as a member of the league's Western Conference in the Pacific Division; the Lakers play their home games at Staples Center, an arena shared with the NBA's Los Angeles Clippers, the Los Angeles Sparks of the Women's National Basketball Association, the Los Angeles Kings of the National Hockey League. The Lakers are one of the most successful teams in the history of the NBA, have won 16 NBA championships, the second-most behind the Boston Celtics; the franchise began with the 1947 purchase of a disbanded team, the Detroit Gems of the National Basketball League. The new team began calling themselves the Minneapolis Lakers. A member of the NBL, the Lakers won the 1948 NBL championship before joining the rival Basketball Association of America, where they would win five of the next six championships, led by star George Mikan. After struggling financially in the late 1950s following Mikan's retirement, they relocated to Los Angeles before the 1960–61 season.
Led by Hall of Famers Elgin Baylor and Jerry West, Los Angeles made the NBA Finals six times in the 1960s, but lost each series to the Celtics, beginning their long and storied rivalry. In 1968, the Lakers acquired four-time NBA Most Valuable Player Wilt Chamberlain, won their sixth NBA title—and first in Los Angeles—in 1972, led by new head coach Bill Sharman. After the retirement of West and Chamberlain, the team acquired Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who won multiple MVP awards, but was unable to make the Finals in the late 1970s; the 1980s Lakers were nicknamed "Showtime" due to their fast break-offense led by Magic Johnson. The team won five championships in a nine-year span, contained Hall of Famers Johnson, Abdul-Jabbar, James Worthy, was led by Hall of Fame coach Pat Riley. After Abdul-Jabbar and Johnson retired, the team struggled in the early 1990s, before acquiring Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant in 1996. With the duo, who were led by another Hall of Fame coach Phil Jackson, the team won three consecutive titles between 2000 to 2002, securing the franchise its second "three-peat".
The Lakers won two more championships in 2009 and 2010, but failed to regain their former glory in the following decade. The Lakers hold the record for NBA's longest winning streak, 33 straight games, set during the 1971–72 season. 21 Hall of Famers have played for Los Angeles. Four Lakers—Abdul-Jabbar, Johnson, O'Neal, Bryant—have won the NBA MVP Award for a total of eight awards; the Lakers' franchise began in 1947 when Ben Berger and Morris Chalfen of Minnesota purchased the disbanded Detroit Gems of the National Basketball League for $15,000 from Gems owner Maury Winston. Minneapolis sportswriter Sid Hartman played a key behind the scenes role in helping put together the deal and the team. Inspired by Minnesota's nickname, "Land of 10,000 Lakes", the team christened themselves the Lakers. Hartman helped them hire John Kundla from College of St. Thomas, to be their first head coach, by meeting with him and selling him on the team; the Lakers had a solid roster, which featured forward Jim Pollard, playmaker Herm Schaefer, center George Mikan, who became the most dominant player in the NBL.
In their first season, they led the league with a 43–17 record winning the NBL Championship that season. In 1948, the Lakers moved from the NBL to the Basketball Association of America, Mikan's 28.3 point per game scoring average set a BAA record. In the 1949 BAA Finals they won the championship; the following season, the team improved to 51–17, repeating as champions. In the 1950–51 season, Mikan won his third straight scoring title at 28.4 ppg and the Lakers went 44–24 to win their second straight division title. One of those games, a 19–18 loss against the Fort Wayne Pistons, became infamous as the lowest scoring game in NBA history. In the playoffs, they defeated the Indianapolis Olympians in three games but lost to the Rochester Royals in the next round. During the 1951 -- 52 season, the Lakers won 40 games, they faced the New York Knicks in the NBA Finals. In the 1952–53 season, Mikan led the NBA in rebounding, averaging 14.4 rebounds per game, was named MVP of the 1953 NBA All-Star Game.
After a 48–22 regular season, the Lakers defeated the Fort Wayne Pistons in the Western playoffs to advance to the NBA Finals. They defeated the New York Knicks to win their second straight championship. Though Lakers star George Mikan suffered from knee problems throughout the 1953–54 season, he was still able to average 18 ppg. Clyde Lovellette, drafted in 1952, helped the team win the Western Division; the team won its third straight championship in the 1950s and fifth in six seasons when it defeated the Syracuse Nationals in seven games. Following Mikan's retirement in the 1954 off-season, the Lakers struggled but still managed to win 40 games. Although they defeated the Rochester Royals in the first round of the playoffs, they were defeated by the Fort Wayne Pistons in the semifinals. Although they had losing records the next two seasons, they made the playoffs each year. Mikan came back for the last half of the 1955–56 season, but struggled and retired for good after the season. Led by Lovellette's 20.6 points and 13.5 rebounds, they advanced to the Conference Finals in 1956–57.
The Lakers had one of the worst seasons in team history in 1957–58 when they won a league-low 19 games. They had hired Mikan, the team's general manager for the previous two seasons, as head coach to replace Kundla. Mikan was fired in January when
The Cleveland Cavaliers referred to as the Cavs, are an American professional basketball team based in Cleveland, Ohio. The Cavs compete in the National Basketball Association as a member of the league's Eastern Conference Central Division; the team began play as an expansion team in 1970, along with the Portland Trail Blazers and Buffalo Braves. Home games were first held at Cleveland Arena from 1970 to 1974, followed by the Richfield Coliseum from 1974 to 1994. Since 1994, the Cavs have played home games at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in downtown Cleveland, shared with the Cleveland Gladiators of the Arena Football League and the Cleveland Monsters of the American Hockey League. Dan Gilbert has owned the team since March 2005; the Cavaliers opened their inaugural season losing their first 15 games and struggled in their early years, placing no better than sixth in the Eastern Conference during their first five seasons. The team won their first Central Division title in 1976, which marked the first winning season and playoff appearance in franchise history, where they advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals.
The franchise was purchased by Ted Stepien in 1980. Stepien's tenure as owner was marked by six coaching changes, questionable trades and draft decisions, poor attendance, leading to $15 million in financial losses; the Cavs went 66–180 in that time and endured a 24-game losing streak spanning the 1981–82 and 1982–83 seasons. George and Gordon Gund purchased the franchise in 1983. During the latter half of the 1980s and through much of the 1990s, the Cavs were a regular playoff contender, led by players such as Mark Price and Brad Daugherty, advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals in 1992. After the team's playoff appearance in 1998, the Cavs had six consecutive losing seasons with no playoff action. Cleveland was awarded with the top overall pick in the 2003 draft, they selected LeBron James. Behind James and Zydrunas Ilgauskas, the Cavaliers again became a regular playoff contender by 2005, they made their first appearance in the NBA Finals in 2007 after winning the first Eastern Conference championship in franchise history.
After failing to return to the NBA Finals in the ensuing three seasons, James joined the Miami Heat in 2010. As a result, the Cavaliers finished the 2010–11 season last in the conference, enduring a 26-game losing streak that, as of 2017, ranks as the longest in NBA history for a single season and second overall. Between 2010 and 2014, the team won the top pick in the NBA draft lottery three times, first in 2011 where they selected Kyrie Irving, again in 2013 and 2014. LeBron James led the team to four straight NBA Finals appearances. In 2016, the Cavaliers won their first NBA Championship, marking Cleveland's first major sports title since 1964; the 2016 NBA Finals victory over the Golden State Warriors marked the first time in Finals history a team had come back to win the series after trailing three games to one. The Cavaliers have made 22 playoff appearances, won seven Central Division titles, five Eastern Conference titles, one NBA title; the Cavaliers began play in the 1970–71 NBA season as an expansion team.
They set losing records in each of their first five seasons before winning their first division title in 1976. That team was led by Austin Carr, Bobby "Bingo" Smith, Jim Chones, Dick Snyder, Nate Thurmond, head coach Bill Fitch, was remembered most for the "Miracle at Richfield", in which the Cavaliers defeated the Washington Bullets 4–3 in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, they won Game 87 -- 85, on a shot by Snyder with four seconds to go. The Cavaliers moved on to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time, but were without Chones after he broke his foot in a practice right before the series opener; as a result, the Cavaliers went on to lose 4–2 to the Boston Celtics. They made playoff appearances in the following two seasons before going on a six-year playoff hiatus; the early 1980s were marked by Ted Stepien's ownership, who had a disastrous run as owner and de facto general manager between 1980 and 1983. During Stepien's reign, the Cavaliers made a practice of trading future draft picks for marginal veteran players.
His most notable deal sent a 1982 first-round pick to the Los Angeles Lakers in exchange for Dan Ford and the 22nd overall pick in 1980. As a result of Stepien's dealings, the NBA introduced the "Stepien Rule", which prohibits teams from trading first-round draft picks in successive seasons; the Cavaliers went 66–180, dropped to the bottom of the league in attendance and lost $15 million during Stepien's three years as the owner. The Cavs went through six coaches including four during the 1981 -- 82 season; the team finished 15–67, between March and November 1982, the team had a 24-game losing streak, which at the time, was the NBA's longest losing streak. George and Gordon Gund purchased the Cavaliers from Stepien in 1983; the Cavaliers made the playoffs ten times between 1984–85 and 1997–98. In 1988–89, the Cavaliers had their best season to date, finishing the regular season with 57–25 record behind the likes of Brad Daugherty, Mark Price, Ron Harper and Larry Nance, head coach Lenny Wilkens.
They reached the Eastern Conference Finals that year. However, between 1998–99 and 2004–05, the Cavaliers failed to make a playoff appearance; the 2002–03 season saw the Cavaliers finish 17–65, tied for the worst record in the NBA. The Cavaliers' luck changed; the team selected heralded forward and future NBA MVP LeBron James, a native of nearby Akron who had risen to national stardom at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School. In 2005, the team would be sold to businessman Dan Gilbert; that year, the