CLEVELAND — In honor of their 50th anniversary and the opening of the renovated Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, the Cleveland Cavaliers have instituted a new program to honor the members of their past.
Earlier this month, the Cavs announced the creation of a 12’x44’ wall, which will feature a mosaic of custom-designed tiles that represent key figures from the franchise's history.
On Thursday, the team announced which individuals will be joining the eight players who already have their jersey numbers retired (Austin Carr, Brad Daugherty, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Larry Nance Sr., Mark Price, Bobby “Bingo” Smith, Nate Thurmond and Joe Tait) in the inaugural class. The first five inductees into the Wall of Honor will be:
- Former front office executive Wayne Embry
- The first head coach of the Cavs, Bill Fitch
- Former small forward John Johnson
- The franchise's first team owner Nick Mileti
- Former forward John "Hot Rod" Williams
“These five great Cavaliers represent a wonderful inaugural class and debut for the Wall of Honor program,” Cavaliers and Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse CEO Len Komoroski said in a press release. “We can look at each of their unique contributions to the franchise and clearly see the significant impact they had and the special place they hold and deserve as part of our history. We also look forward to the continuation of the program in years to come and future recognition for others that have earned their inclusion as part of this very special place of honor within the Cavaliers franchise.”
The Cavs' first Wall of Honor class will be inducted on Nov. 17 when the Cavs host the Philadelphia 76ers. Criteria for inductees into each annual class includes the following:
- Must have been a part of the Cavaliers organization for at least two seasons
- Must be retired from playing or working for the Cavaliers organization for at least five seasons.