Cleveland Rockers

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Cleveland Rockers
Cleveland Rockers logo
HistoryCleveland Rockers
ArenaGund Arena
LocationCleveland, Ohio
Team colorsBlack, blue, silver, orange, white
Conference titles0

The Cleveland Rockers were a Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) team based in Cleveland, Ohio, that played from 1997 until 2003. The Rockers were one of the original eight franchises of the WNBA, which started in 1997. The owner was Gordon Gund, who at the time also owned the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers. In October 2003, Gund announced that his Gund Arena Company would no longer operate the Rockers. The team folded after the 2003 season as the league was not able to find new ownership for the team.

Franchise history[edit]

The city of Cleveland was granted one of the original 8 franchises of the WNBA. The Cleveland Rockers got their nickname from Cleveland's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 1997, they started with such players like Isabelle Fijalkowski and former Harlem Globetrotters member Lynette Woodard, who had been the first female player in Globetrotter history.

The Rockers finished 15–13 in the first WNBA season ever, missing the playoffs in 1997. In 1998, the Rockers went 20-10 and won the Eastern Conference title. However, the Rockers lost to the Phoenix Mercury in the WNBA semifinals (before the WNBA split the playoffs by conference).

The Rockers had their best regular season in 2001, going 22-10 and winning the Eastern Conference, getting the #1 seed. Their relentless defense allowed just 55.9 points per game that year, a record that still stands. But the Rockers would be upended by the Charlotte Sting in the 1st round, losing 2 games to 1. The 2002 Rockers fell by 12 games over the previous year's mark, posting a 10–22 record. In 2003, the Rockers would go 17-17, good enough for the #4 seed in the East; however, they would fall in the first round of the playoffs to the eventual champion Detroit Shock, 2–1. 2003 was the Rockers' last playoff appearance. This is also the only team in the WNBA to qualify for the playoffs in their last season of play.


After the 2002 season, the Gunds decided to buy the Rockers from the WNBA, seemingly ensuring the Rockers' future. However, despite fielding competitive teams and having decent attendance for most games, the Gund family decided they did not wish to operate the Rockers after the 2003 season. No local ownership was found for the team, forcing the Rockers to fold. The Rockers ceased operation after 7 seasons, posting an all-time record of 108–112. This wouldn't happen again until 2008 when the Houston Comets ceased operations because of lack of ownership.

Season-by-season records[edit]

Season Team Conference Regular season Playoff results Head coach
Cleveland Rockers
1997 1997 East 4th 15 13 .536 Linda Hill-MacDonald
1998 1998 East 1st 20 10 .667 Lost WNBA Semifinals (Phoenix, 1–2) Linda Hill-MacDonald
1999 1999 East 6th 7 25 .219 Linda Hill-MacDonald
2000 2000 East 2nd 17 15 .531 Won Conference Semifinals (Orlando, 2–1)
Lost Conference Finals (New York, 1–2)
Dan Hughes
2001 2001 East 1st 22 10 .688 Lost Conference Semifinals (Charlotte, 1–2) Dan Hughes
2002 2002 East 7th 10 22 .313 Dan Hughes
2003 2003 East 4th 17 17 .500 Lost Conference Semifinals (Detroit, 1–2) Dan Hughes
Regular Season 108 112 .491 0 Conference Championships
Playoffs 6 9 .400 0 WNBA Championships

Hall of famers[edit]

Notable players[edit]

Janice Lawrence Braxton

Coaches and others[edit]

Head Coaches:

General Managers:

Assistant Coaches