Cavaliers Return To Wine, Gold Colors

By JOE MILICIA, Associated Press Writer

CLEVELAND (AP) - The Cavaliers are going retro after the coming season, returning to the wine and gold colors the franchise debuted with 32 years ago.

But they're leaving behind the short shorts and knee-high socks of the '70s.

Cavaliers owner Gordon Gund said the new colors are another sign that the team, which had an offseason roster overhaul, is moving in a new direction.

"The time is right to change not only our colors, but our logo and uniforms," Gund said. "I have a lot of optimism for the future."

Gund, along with general manager Jim Paxson and president Jim Boland, pulled three painted basketballs out of a duffel bag at a news conference Wednesday to introduce the new colors.

The Cavaliers, whose colors have been blue, black and orange since moving to Gund Arena in 1994, can't display their new logo and uniforms until June because of NBA regulations. The changes will take effect in the 2003-04 season.

Gund called the colors "a new expression of wine and gold."

The wine color will be more of a reddish-hue than the original deep wine color and the gold has a metallic tint.

The team's home uniforms will be primarily white and they'll wear a wine-colored uniform on the road. The uniforms also will have gold and dark blue trim. The blue is a nod to the predominant color of the Cavaliers uniforms of the last 20 years.

The Cavaliers wore wine and gold for their first 13 seasons in the NBA, then switched to blue and orange in 1983. That year the team also started using "Cavs" on their uniforms.

Gund said the new logo and uniforms will say "Cavaliers" rather than "Cavs."

The team's decision to make the old new again, comes after four losing seasons and a decline in attendance.

The team had an Internet poll earlier this year on a color change and the majority of 12,000 fans who responded wanted wine and gold, Boland said.

He said Fans overwhelmingly wanted to scrap the current logo, which says "Cavs" with a basketball falling into a net. The new logo will return to the Cavalier image.

The Cavaliers experienced a major roster shake-up in the off-season. They traded guard Andre Miller for forward Darius Miles, signed rookie guard DaJuan Wagner and forward Ricky Davis and traded disgruntled forward Lamond Murray.

"What's inside the uniforms is a whole lot more important than the colors ... but the colors are a great way to move forward as we get started," Paxson said.

Former Cavaliers forward Campy Russell, who played in the wine and gold uniforms in the '70s, said it was time the team embraced its early years and the "Cavaliers" nickname.

"I think it's a great thing for the history of the Cavaliers. You now have a link to the past," said Russell, now a member of the Cavaliers sales department.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)