The Gund Family has always meant a lot to Cleveland. Its Gund Foundation was at the forefront of the area’s philanthropic organizations.
But Gordon Gund, along with brother, George, will also be credited for salvaging professional basketball in Northeast Ohio by purchasing the Cleveland Cavaliers in 1983. The team had been rumored for a possible move to Toronto.
Under Gordon Gund, the Cavaliers established themselves as playoff contenders, with fan loyalty at the Richfield Coliseum remaining strong when the team relocated to the new Gund Arena in 1994. The franchise consistently ranked among the NBA’s leaders in attendance as stability remained consistent.
With the drafting of LeBron James in 2003, the popularity of the team soared. Although he sold controlling interest of the team 2005, Gund remained a minority owner and was able to enjoy the satisfaction of the 2016 NBA championship.
The Gund’s also owned the WNBA’s Cleveland Rockers women’s basketball team.
While the stint was brief, the Gunds owned the NHL’s Cleveland Barons for the 1977-78 season before the club was merged with the North Stars and moved to Minnesota. Gordon was a partial owner of the expansion San Jose Sharks in 1991, selling his share of that team in 2002.
A 1961 graduate of Harvard University, he was Chairman and CEO of Gund Investment Corporation, based in Princeton, N.J., since 1968.
In dealing with personal health issues, he was the co-founder and Chairman Emeritus of the Foundation Fighting Blindness of Columbia, MD. The national non-profit organization is dedicated to seeking the causes, treatments and/or cures for retinitis pigmentosa, age-related macular degeneration and associated degenerative diseases.
Gordon Gund became a noted sculptor, working meticulously in bronze and clay. Along with wife, Lulie, the couple have two children.