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Cleveland Rockers
Cleveland Rockers logo
Conference Eastern
Leagues WNBA
Founded 1997
Dissolved 2003
History Cleveland Rockers
Arena Gund Arena
Location Cleveland, Ohio
Team colors Black, blue, silver, orange, white
Ownership Gordon Gund
Championships 0
Conference titles 0

The Cleveland Rockers were a Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) team based in Cleveland, 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

The city of Cleveland was granted one of the original 8 franchises of the WNBA in October 1996. 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 No. 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 No. 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, and is 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 in December 2003, and the players went to the other teams in the league via a dispersal draft in January 2004. The Rockers ceased operation after seven seasons, posting an all-time record of 108–112. A WNBA franchise would next fold in 2008 when the Houston Comets ceased operations because of lack of ownership.

Season-by-season records

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

Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame

Cleveland Rockers Hall of Famers
No. Name Position Tenure Inducted
8 Lynette Woodard G 1997 2004

FIBA Hall of Famers

Cleveland Rockers Hall of Famers
No. Name Position Tenure Inducted
13 Isabelle Fijalkowski PF 1997–1998 2020

Notable players

  • Mery Andrade
  • Lucienne Berthieu
  • Tully Bevilaqua
  • Tricia Bader Binford
  • Cindy Blodgett
  • Jenny Boucek
  • Rushia Brown
  • Helen Darling
  • Michelle Edwards
  • Adrienne Johnson
  • Isabelle Fijalkowski
  • Tracy Henderson
  • Deanna Jackson
  • Pollyanna Johns Kimbrough

Coaches and others

Head Coaches:

  • Linda Hill-MacDonald (1997–1999)
  • Dan Hughes (2000–2003)

General Managers:

Assistant Coaches

  • Mike Wilhelm (1997–99)
  • Lisa Boyer (1998-2002)
  • Cheryl Reeve (2003)

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Cleveland Rockers para niños

Black History Month on Kiddle
Famous African-American Athletes:
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Wilma Rudolph
Jesse Owens
Jackie Joyner-Kersee
Major Taylor
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