CLEVELAND — Editor's note: the video in the player above is from a previous story.
More than 16 years after first buying the majority stake in the franchise, Cleveland Cavaliers chairman Dan Gilbert has purchased the remaining shares that were owned by the team's previous owner, Gordon Gund.
In a statement released on Wednesday, the Cavs praised the work that the now-81-year-old Gund did in establishing the franchise's reputation. The statement reads:
"In 1983, Gordon Gund, along with his brother George, acquired majority ownership of the Cleveland Cavaliers. At the time, Gordon and George said: ‘The job now is to establish credibility with the fans. We believe the way to accomplish that is to build a contending team just as soon as possible.’ They did just that and, in the process, saved the team and NBA basketball in Northeast Ohio. The team returned to playoff action quickly in 1985 and the legendary teams of the early 90’s with Daugherty, Nance, Price and Williams would capture the well-earned admiration and love of a community and fans.
"The Cavaliers franchise also became one of the most respected in the league off-the-court under Gund stewardship, as the organization’s support of the community and charitable giving expanded greatly and Wayne Embry was named the first-ever Black team President in the NBA.
"On a very personal level, Gordon was a dedicated and caring leader that brought integrity and civic pride to the forefront as an organizational imperative, while infusing a business acumen and team strategy that allowed the franchise to position itself well for the decades to come in downtown Cleveland.
"Gordon’s remaining minority share in the franchise has been acquired by Cavs Chairman Dan Gilbert. Gordon will remain part of the Cavaliers family and we thank him greatly for his leadership, dedication and long-standing support of the franchise."
The Gund brothers paid $20 million to buy the Cavaliers from Ted Stepien nearly four decades ago, a move that likely saved the franchise from either moving or going bankrupt. The team rose from an NBA laughingstock to a consistent contender, and in 1994 moved into a glistening new downtown facility that bore the family name: Gund Arena, now known as Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
In 2005, Gilbert purchased a majority stake in the Cavs from Gordon Gund for the reported price of $375 million. This past February, Forbes estimated the franchise to now be worth $1.56 billion.
Last week, Gilbert was named the world's 23rd richest person on Forbes' 2021 Billionaire list, with an estimated net worth of $51.9 billion. The 59-year-old Detroit, Michigan, native has been less visible publicly in recent years after suffering a stroke in May 2019.
Besides the Cavs, the Gunds also held ownership stakes in three NHL teams: the California Golden Seals/Cleveland Barons, Minnesota North Stars, and San Jose Sharks. The family also ran the WNBA's Cleveland Rockers, and brought professional hockey back to the in the form of the minor league Barons in 2001. Gordon's brother, George III, died in 2013.
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