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Cleveland Passes the Baton


The Cavaliers are NBA champions. It took 52 years for Cleveland to win a professional sports title. The good news for them is bad news for other cities. Here are five cities with at least three professional teams that are in long championship droughts themselves.

#5 – Toronto – The Blue Jays won Toronto’s last titles in 1992 and 1993. They were terrible for almost two decades following those championships, but they did win the 2015 AL East crown. The Raptors joined the NBA in 1995, but they have won only three playoffs series in that time. The Maple Leafs have not won a playoff series since 2004, and they have missed the playoffs entirely ten of the past eleven seasons.

#4 – Washington D.C. – The Redskins hold the most recent championship when they won the Super Bowl in 1991. Since then, they have struggled to find a footing in the NFC East. They have only won two playoff games since 1993. The Wizards of the NBA have only won four playoff series since the 1979-80 season. The Nationals moved to D.C. in 2005, and they have been good since 2011. Finally, the Capitals have been consistently competitive since 2007, but they have failed to win a Stanley Cup in that time period.

#3 – Houston – The Rockets won back-to-back NBA championships in 1994 and 1995, but have only won six playoff series since then. The Astros made the World Series in 2005. That pretty much sums it up for a franchise that has existed since 1962. They did make the playoffs last season for the first time in ten years. The Texans joined the NFL as an expansion team in 2002. They have made the playoffs three of the past five seasons, but they have not broken through to be a true title contender.

#2 – Atlanta – The Braves were the best baseball team of the 1990s, and they won a World Series in 1995. They have not won a playoff series since 2001 and are now one of the worst teams in baseball. The Hawks have been average for almost a decade now. Finally, the Falcons have won three playoff games since a Super Bowl appearance in 1998.

#1 – Minneapolis – We have reached the city that takes over for Cleveland as the ultimate loser. The Twins won two World Series in 1987 and 1991. They have only won one playoff series since then. The Timberwolves have existed since 1989, and other than in 2004 when they advanced to the Western Conference Finals, they have not won a playoff series. The Vikings have only won two playoff games since 2001 and have missed the playoffs ten times in that span. The Wild began play in the NHL in 2000, and they have actually been competitive almost since the start. They have advanced to the playoffs for four straight seasons.

This is a list that no city wants to be on. Hopefully they can find success, or maybe the next LeBron James.

By Ben Billman

B.S. in Sports Management from Taylor University
M.S. in Sports Management from Liberty University
(In progress) Ed. D. in Sports Management from the United States Sports Academy

Ben Billman is currently a doctoral teaching assistant at the United States Sports Academy, and can be reached at bbillman@ussa.edu. He lives in Mobile, Alabama with his wife Jennifer and son Derrick. He is originally from Indiana, and therefore has a deep love for the game of basketball.



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