The Cleveland Cavaliers first took to the court in 1970 after the NBA granted Forest City an expansion team. Nick Mileti – the original team owner – guided the Cavs through their first season; they finished in the last place with one of their worst records in franchise history (15 wins, 67 losses).
After news spread that the city of Cleveland would receive a professional basketball team, the local paper – The Plain Dealer – introduced a contest to name the new club. The Cavaliers got the majority vote, beating out other competing names such as the Foresters, Towers, and Presidents. Jerry Tomko – the clever mind behind the Cleveland moniker – wrote that the name “represents a group of daring, fearless men, whose life’s pact was never surrender, no matter what the odds.” As time passed, the Cleveland ballers were frequently mentioned by their nickname – the Cavs.
The Cavs have had a total of five logo changes throughout their existence. The current logo features the wordmark “Cleveland Cavaliers” placed over a wine-colored basketball with a gold sword piercing through the text. Cleveland’s primary team color palette consists of different variations of wine, gold, navy, and white – becoming almost equivalent to the team’s actual name.
The Cavs have a knack for maintaining simplistic jerseys with bold designs. Their logo demonstrates the effort these “daring, fearless men” make to achieve success.
Champions in Cleveland
The Cleveland Cavs have made a total of 20 playoffs out of a whopping 46 seasons since their league inception. The Cavs are the current NBA champions; they made a historic comeback against the Golden State Warriors during the 2015-16 finals. The team, led by homecoming MVP LeBron James, was able to overcome a 3-1 series deficit – downing the Dubs in game 7 (93-89). LBJ secured the delivery of the title to Cleveland by scoring a triple-double during their final showdown against the Warriors.
The #CavsNation has experienced some minor and major jersey changes over the past 46 years playing in the NBA. Check them out below!
Notable Cavaliers Jersey Changes
1969: The Cavs utilize gold as their primary color with wine red accents for their inaugural jersey. The word “Cavaliers” sits at the center of the jersey and features a feather stemming from the end of the “C” – underlining the remaining part of the word “avaliers.” Three wine stripes border the collar as well as the shoulders of the jersey and appear on the shorts.
1974: The Cavs debut their second jersey design by ditching the feather for a block-style “Cavaliers” placed in the center. Wine, gold, and white horizontal stripes are stacked upon each other, running down the sides of the jersey and across the collar as well.
1980: The primary color of this season’s jersey undergoes a minor modification – metallic gold is used instead of plain gold. The team switches things up a bit and features Cleveland as the centerpiece of the jerseys. Two horizontal stripes run underneath the block-style “Cleveland” name in traditional wine and white colorways.
1983: The ’83 season marks a drastic change in the Cavs iconic jersey – a burnt orange, royal blue, and white color palette are used. The team’s famed nickname “CAVS” is smack in the middle of the jersey with the letter “V” forming a basket. Underneath this new design are orange jersey numbers outlined in royal blue.
1987: They maintain the same colorway as the ’85 season jerseys, and the Cavs make minor modifications to their home attire. The lettering is now royal blue, outlined in orange. White remains the primary color of the jersey.
1994: The Cavaliers introduce a new jersey with the opening of their new home stadium, Gund Arena. A light blue color splashes the torso and features white jersey numbers outlined in black. The word “CAVS” utilizes a new font and is now orange with black skeletal lines.
1999: Reverting to a more minimal look, the Cavs remove the light blue splash from the front of the jersey. The letters and numbers ditch the orange for blue but keep the black lines. Blue and orange vertical lines run down the trim on the right-hand side of the jersey.
2003: The Cavaliers revamp their home jerseys by marking the return of the gold, white, and wine color scheme. “Cavaliers” slants down the torso in wine-colored lettering, outlined in gold. Jersey numbers are now dark blue and sit beneath the “s” in the team name. Thick wine red panels run down the sides of the jersey, bordered by blue and white stripes.
2010: The jersey achieves a simple yet bold look. Several new changes are made in respect to the design. The team’s signature wordmark “Cavaliers” sits across the chest in a new font. Deep wine and shining gold stripes frame the shoulder openings and collar of the jersey, and the numbers change from dark blue to wine red.
2014: Minor changes are made, including moving the NBA logo to the back of the jersey.
If you’re in Cleveland, then you have a lot to celebrate. Be a part of the celebration by supporting the #CavsNation. Head over to Fanatics.com – the one-stop shop for the hottest Cavaliers fan gear and memorabilia.