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This article is about the defunct WNBA team; for the American Basketball Association team, see Cleveland Rockers .

The Cleveland Rockers were a Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) team 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 September 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 Clevelandmarker 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 Famemarker. 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 semi-finals (before the WNBA split the playoffs by conference).

After a dismal 1999 season, which finished with a record of 7-25, the 2000 Rockers went 17-15, making the playoffs again. In the first round, the Rockers would defeat the Orlando Miracle 2-1. But the Rockers season would end in the Eastern Conference Finals, losing to the New York Liberty 2-1.

The Rockers had their best regular season in 2001, going 22-10 and winning the Eastern Conference, getting the #1 seed. But the Rockers would be up-ended 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 in 2008 when the Houston Comets ceased operations because of lack of ownership.

Season-by-season records

Hall of Famers

Notable players

Coaches and others

Head Coaches:

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