National Basketball Association

(1970 - Present)

Early 1910's - Max Rosenblum, a Cleveland department store owner, assembles a basketball team to play exhibition games against other cities. The team is named the Cleveland Rosenblums.

1925 - Rosenblum hosts a meeting at the Hotel Statler in Cleveland to form the American Basketball League.

April 9, 1926 - The Rosenblums win the first ever ABL championship defeating the Brooklyn Arcadians 3 games to 0.

1929-30 - The Rosenblums win their 2nd and 3rd ABL championships then drop out of the league the following year.

1943 - A basketball team returns to Cleveland as a part of the National Basketball League. The Cleveland Chase Brassmen, later renamed the Cleveland Allmen Transfers, never obtain a winning record in their three seasons in the league. These odd team names represent factories in the area.

1946 - The Basketball Association of America is formed and the Cleveland Rebels are among the charter franchises. The team makes the playoffs but are knocked out in the first round by the New York Knickerbockers. The team folds soon after.

1949 - The National Basketball League (of the Brassmen/Transfers) and the Basketball Association of America (of the Rebels) merge to form the National Basketball Association. Neither of the Cleveland teams are still in business to play in the new league.

1961-62 - Cleveland native and businessman, George Steinbrenner, begins his career in the sports franchise business with The Cleveland Pipers. The team takes part in the only full season of the American Basketball League and wins its only championship, 3 games to 2, over the Kansas City Steers. While the Pipers would end up a financial failure for Steinbrenner, he would go on to own the New York Yankees baseball team. The Yankees would win eleven pennants and seven World Series titles during his tenure.

1970 - The NBA expands from 15 to 17 teams. The Cleveland Cavaliers are among the new franchises.

1975-76 - The Cavaliers finally put together a winning season and take their first playoff berth. They also manage to squeak by the Washington Bullets in 7 games in what would be called the "Miracle of Richfield." They move on to play the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Final but are easily defeated due to injuries.

May 7, 1989 - "THE SHOT" - Having been one of the top teams in the NBA over the course of the regular season, the Cavaliers earn a spot in the first round against the Chicago Bulls, led by future Hall of Famer Michael Jordan. The first four games of the best-of-five series are split between the clubs and Game 5 in Cleveland is a barn-burner. With 3 seconds to go, down 100-99, the Bulls inbound the ball to Jordan who puts up a shot as time expires. As the 20,000 fans in Richfield Coliseum still remember, Jordan's shot is on target, ending the Cavaliers season. Although the Bulls would go on to be one of the greatest teams in NBA history, this series was considered an upset at the time. "The Shot" is still remembered as Jordan's greatest clutch moment and as one of the greatest moments in basketball history.

March 16, 2003 - With time expiring in a regular season game, Cavaliers forward Ricky Davis, being one rebound short of his first career triple-double, shoots the ball at his own basket and gets his own rebound. Davis thinks this counts as his 10th rebound but instead earns him a last minute foul and the nickname "Wrong Rim Ricky".

June 26, 2003 - With the first pick of the NBA draft, the struggling Cavaliers select "the most hyped basketball player ever" and local high school superstar, LeBron James. James, who grew up just an hour away in Akron, Ohio produces one of the greatest rookie seasons in NBA history, breaking records along the way. It's thought that James, the hometown hero, will save Cleveland from its almost 50-year championship drought. James himself believes this saying "I got a goal, and it's a huge goal, and that's to bring an NBA championship here to Cleveland. And I won't stop until I get it."

2007 - The Cavaliers win the Eastern Conference Championship and head to the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history. The San Antonio Spurs ruin the trip and sweep the Cavs to win the title.

2008-09 - The Cavaliers post a franchise best 66-16 record and follow it up with a trip to the 2009 Eastern Conference Championship. The record breaking season comes to a disappointing end as they lose to the Orlando Magic in 6.

July 1, 2010 - LeBron James becomes a free agent after seven all-star seasons with the Cavaliers.

July 8, 2010 - "THE DECISION" - After months of hype and media attention, James announces on an ESPN television special "The Decision" that he will take his "talents to South Beach." The city of Cleveland erupts, James jerseys are burned and the hometown hero is deemed a traitor. Dan Gilbert, owner of the Cavaliers, makes his opinions known immediately after "The Decision" berating LeBron for leaving and the spectacle in which he did it. Gilbert also lowers the price of LeBron wall graphics from his company "Fathead" from $99.99 to $17.41, the birth year of Benedict Arnold. James would sign a 4-year contract with the Miami Heat in the pursuit of the NBA championship he couldn't win in Cleveland.

2010-11 - The season following LeBron's departure is a tough one for Cavs fans. Having gone 61-21 with LeBron the previous year, the Cavaliers post a 19-63 record for the first season without him. The hatred for LeBron increases.

June 12, 2011 - The "Big Three," LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh fall to the Dallas Mavericks in 6 games of the NBA Finals. Cleveland fans breathe a sigh of relief.

June 23, 2011 - The Cavs, finding themselves at the bottom of the league once again, use the 1st pick of the 2011 Draft to select Duke point guard Kyrie Irving and begin building an all-star team around him. Kyrie has a stellar season winning the Rookie of the Year award.

June 21, 2012 - The Miami Heat defeat the Oklahoma City Thunder, 4 games to 1, to win the NBA Championship and give LeBron James the title he left his hometown to win. As the game ends in Miami, it begins to rain in downtown Cleveland.

June 20, 2013 - LeBron James and the Heat defeat the Spurs in 7 games to win their 2nd straight NBA Championship.

June 15, 2014 - In their 4th straight Finals appearance, the "Big Three" lose in 5 games to San Antonio. LeBron, Cavs fans and the rest of the world know his contract with Miami is up.

July 11, 2014 - In an essay printed in Sports Illustrated, LeBron James announces he will return to Cleveland for the 2014-15 season. The essay includes an apology to the city of Cleveland for leaving them four long years ago. The city, despite hurt feelings from "The Decision" and the subsequent four years of horrible basketball, ultimately welcomes the "greatest player in the world" back to Ohio. Even local sports radio station, 92.3 "The Fan," stops referring to James as "The Back-Stabbing Weasel," as was tradition since his departure. James will join Kyrie Irving and new all-star acquisition, Kevin Love, in what will be called the new "Big Three."

April 26, 2015 - In Game 4 of the first round of the 2015 NBA playoffs, with Cleveland leading 3 games to none, new Cavalier center Kevin Love attempts to snatch a rebound when Boston Celtics center Kelly Olynyk grabs Love's arm and rips his shoulder out of its socket. While Olynyk would claim the move unintentional, the replay suggests the pull to be on purpose. Love would undergo surgery and would not play for the remainder of the playoffs.

June 4, 2015 - The Cavaliers play in their first NBA Finals game since they were swept in 2007 by San Antonio. This time around they will play the Golden State Warriors, another franchise plagued by a championship drought of 40 years. The exciting back and forth Game 1 heads into overtime where Kyrie Irving fractures his kneecap after Warriors guard Klay Thompson inadvertently knees him. Irving would not play for the remainder of the playoffs.

June 16, 2015 - With the new "Big Three" down to just "The One," the Cavaliers manage to take the series to 6 games where they fall just two wins short of the NBA Championship. After the game, Warriors forward Draymond Green is interviewed: "Cavaliers, nope. We won, yup. They suck, yup. We here, yup. They not, nope."

​December 11, 2015 ​- The Golden State Warriors follow up their Championship victory by winning the first 24 straight games of the next year, an NBA record for the start of the season. During this stretch, Warriors point guard Stephen Curry, the reigning MVP, shows of what he can really do. He finishes the regular season with an average of 30.1 points per game, leading the league. Sports personalities and fans alike begin considering Curry as the greatest three-point shooter of all time and possibly one of the greatest players of all time, period. Clevelanders know the latter claim is outrageous.

December 25, 2015 - Cleveland and Golden State meet on Christmas day for the first time since the 2015 Finals. The Warriors escape with an 89-83 victory while Cleveland fans begin to worry about a GS/CLE matchup for the 2nd straight year. They also begin hating Steph Curry for, at times, unexplainable reasons. Popular opinions include him having a "face you just want to punch," and hating how he chews on his mouthpiece.
​January 18, 2016 ​- Golden State travels to Cleveland to play the 2nd of two regular season matchups. They obliterate the Cavaliers 132-98. Curry is quoted before the game saying he hopes "it still smells a little bit like champagne." The hatred for Curry, Thompson and Green continues.
​April 13, 2016 ​- Curry and the Warriors defeat the Memphis Grizzlies to finish the season with 73 wins and 9 losses, edging out Michael Jordan's 1995-96 Bulls (72-10) for the NBA record. ESPN and other sports programs begin including "Curry" with names like "Jordan," "Kobe," and "James." Again, the city of Cleveland, having watched James grow from a high schooler in Akron to an athletic superstar, knows Curry's two all-star seasons aren't enough to be on the "Mount Rushmore" of the NBA.
​May 10, 2016 ​- Steph Curry becomes the first player in NBA history to win the MVP by a unanimous vote. It is his 2nd in a row.
​May 27, 2016 ​- The Cavaliers defeat the Toronto Raptors in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final to advance to their 2nd straight NBA Final and their 3rd in franchise history. This Finals trip is also LeBron James' 6th straight. Cavaliers fans have plenty to be happy about as a more experienced, well rested and injury-free basketball team will be playing for the championship this year.
​May 30, 2016 ​- The Warriors defeat the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 7 of the Western Conference Final to advance to their 2nd straight NBA Final. Their Game 7 victory comes after being down 3-1 in the series and mounting a come-back.
June 2, 2016 ​- Game 1 of the NBA finals between the "cursed" Cleveland Cavaliers and the "Greatest team in NBA history" Golden State Warriors is won easily by Curry, Thompson and Green's Warriors, 104-89. Cleveland's strategy to shut down Curry works, but Golden State's bench players sink most of the team's points. Having a healthy James, Irving and Love doesn't seem to have the effect Cavs fans thought it would.
​June 5, 2016 ​- Game 2 of the NBA finals ends with a 110-77 victory for Golden State. The 33-point win is the largest margin of victory in the series, though not by much.
​June 8, 2016 ​- Game 3 of the NBA finals, now in Cleveland, is won by the Cavaliers 120-90. James and Irving combine for a remarkable 62 points. This 30-point victory gives Cleveland hope that one victory in Golden State will be enough to end this drought.
June 10, 2016 ​- Game 4 of the NBA finals, to the Cavaliers disappointment, goes to the away team. Golden State takes one in Cleveland, 108-97. Curry, in his first major contribution in the series, nets 38. Late in the game, James and Green get into a bit of a tangle. James intentionally steps over a fallen Green, but as Green gets up, he swings his hand into LeBron's groin. Due to this incident and two previous disputes that ended with Green going for an opposing player's groin, Green is suspended for Game 5. The Cavaliers must now win three straight (two in Golden State) to overcome the 3-1 deficit. A comeback from down 3-1 has never been done in the NBA Finals.
June 12, 2016 ​- In Game 5, LeBron and Kyrie each sink 41 points to carry the Cavaliers to a 112-97 victory. This is only the 2nd home loss by the Warriors in the playoffs and only their 4th home loss the entire season.
June 16, 2016 ​- Game 6 of the NBA finals, now back in Cleveland, is taken over by LeBron James. 41 points from the Cleveland native and 23 from Irving lead the Cavaliers to a Game 7. Though the 115-101 victory is one of the best games seen in Cleveland history, it isn't the highlight of the night. With 4:34 left in the 4th quarter, Curry breaks to the basket for an easy two points when out of nowhere, James stuffs him. The two exchange words as Quicken Loans erupts. Then, just 10 seconds later, Curry attempts to steal a ball from James and fouls him. This being Curry's 6th foul, he fouls out. In his anger, Curry throws his mouthpiece at the ground and ends up hitting a Cleveland fan with it. Because of this, Curry, the unanimous MVP, is ejected from the game. Again, The Q erupts.

​June 19, 2016 - "THE MIRACLE" - With 53 seconds remaining in Game 7 in Oakland, Kyrie Irving puts up a three over Steph Curry, the unanimous MVP, and drains it to go up 92-89. Then, with 30 seconds remaining in the 146th season since Cleveland's last championship victory, Steph Curry, the unanimous MVP, puts up a three over Kevin Love, and misses. Then, with 10.6 seconds remaining in the 146th season since the Cleveland drought began, LeBron James, a kid from Akron, who promised Cleveland a championship, who Cleveland loved, who left, who Cleveland hated, and who came back, LeBron James, the savior of Cleveland, puts in a free throw to put his city up by 4.


Then, with 3 seconds remaining, Steph Curry, the unanimous MVP, puts up a three, and misses.


Then, when the clock hits 0.0...


...the Cleveland Cavaliers win the NBA Championship and the drought...


...the "Cleveland Curse..."






NBA Seasons: 46

Post-Seasons: 20

NBA Finals Appearances: 3

Championships: 1

Current Drought: 0 years



Finish up the Cleveland Sports Timeline