|This article does not cite any sources. (December 2009)|
|Team colors||Black, Blue, Silver, Orange, White|
The Cleveland Rockers was 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 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.
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 semi-finals (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||Team||Conference||Regular Season||Playoff Results||Head coach|
|1998||1998||East||1st||20||10||.667||Lost WNBA Semifinals (Phoenix, 1–2)||Linda Hill-MacDonald|
|2000||2000||East||2nd||17||15||.531||Won Conference Semifinals (Orlando, 2–1)
Lost Conference Finals (New York, 1–2)
|2001||2001||East||1st||22||10||.688||Lost Conference Semifinals (Charlotte, 1–2)||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
Coaches and others
|Defunct teams of the Women's National Basketball Association|
|Eastern Conference||Western Conference|
|Charlotte Sting||Houston Comets|
|Cleveland Rockers||Portland Fire|
|Detroit Shock*||Sacramento Monarchs|
|Miami Sol||Tulsa Shock*|
|Orlando Miracle*||Utah Starzz*|
|In 2003, the Orlando Miracle and the Utah Starzz became the Connecticut Sun and the San Antonio Stars, respectively.|