Cleveland basketball fans could be rooting for the Jays, Foresters or even the Good Gnus if it weren’t for Jerry Tomko, father of former MLB pitcher Brett Tomko.
Ahead of Cleveland’s first season with an NBA franchise, team owner Nick Mileti called on the city newspaper the Plain Dealer to host a "Name the Team" contest, which drew more than 11,000 submissions. A single one stood out among the slush. As soon as Jerry Tomko heard the contest’s radio advertisement, he envisioned Cavaliers, and submitted the suggestion, complete with an essay that explained the significance of the swashbucklers: "a group of daring, fearless men whose life’s pact was never surrender, no matter what the odds." His reward for the key contribution: tickets for the 1970 inaugural season.