Nick Mileti

Nick Mileti, Born on April 22, 1931, is a man who one could say was the face of Cleveland, Ohio from the late 1960’s through the 1980’s and his impact still resonates in Cleveland today. Born and raised in Ohio, growing up on East 116th street in Cleveland, attending John Adams High School and graduating from Bowling Green State University, Mileti was a Cleveland man through and through.  Earning a law degree from Bowling Green, Mileti founded his own law office in Lakewood, Ohio working as a lawyer in his early years. However Mileti made his major impact in Cleveland in the late 1960’s when he purchased the Cleveland Arena and it’s tenant, professional Hockey team, the Cleveland Barons.  Mileti was a major basketball fan and succeeded in bringing an expansion NBA basketball franchise, the Cleveland Cavaliers, to play in The Arena in 1970.

The four years following his founding of the Cavaliers is where Mileti’s legacy in Cleveland is debated.   Mileti decided he wanted to build a new Arena in the Cleveland suburb of Richfield, Ohio, which was actually closer to Akron than Cleveland, and Mileti wanted to move the Cavaliers to Richfield to play in his new arena.   Mileti proceeded to purchase 250 acres of land in Richfield and constructed a 20,000-seat facility at a cost of $17,000,000, which became the new home of the Cleveland Cavaliers.  Many Clevelanders were upset at Mileti for moving the team away from the city. Local businesses and city citizens complained that there was now nothing to do at nighttime in the city. Mileti heard and listened the people of Cleveland’s complaints, however he went ahead and moved the team anyways.

Bringing a new Arena and professional basketball franchise to Cleveland was not the only thing Mileti was famous for.  In the late months of 1972, Mileti teamed up with another local Cleveland businessman Jim Ebrescia, to create the local radio station now known as WTAM 1100 and is today currently known as one of the top radio stations in America.  By providing Clevelanders with play-by-play broadcasts of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Cleveland Indians, it eased some of the hard feelings amongst the people towards Mileti.

Mileti’s legacy is one that is polarizing to Clevelanders. However at the end of the day there is no doubt that Mileti made a major influence on the city. He represented the people of Cleveland through his law firm, brought a professional basketball franchise to the city, built a state of the art basketball arena and founded the city’s largest radio station.  Nick Mileti is certainly an iconic figure in Cleveland’s history.

This image shows The Colliseum in Richfield, Ohio. Many people questioned the location at which the Coliseum was built. It was located in the middle of a farm city in Richfield, Ohio with not much surrounding it

Image Courtesy of The Cleveland Plain Dealer

This image shows Mileti in front of his brand new, state of the art, $17 million arena. Mileti was seen by some as a hated figure in Cleveland for moving the Cavaliers away from the city and out to Richfield in 1974.

Image Courtesy of The Cleveland Plain Dealer

This is an image from Mileti's early days as a lawyer from his firm in Lakewood, Ohio. Mileti made his money as a lawyer and prosecutor and eventually went on to purchase The Arena, founded The Cleveland Cavaliers, and built a brand new Arena called the Coliseum in Richfield, Ohio to be home to the team

Image Courtesy of The Cleveland Plain Dealer

Mileti moved the Cavaliers to Richfield in 1975 where they played in his newly built coliseum

Image Courtesy of Cleveland Cavaliers NBA.Com Collections

Nick Mileti waiting for tipoff at The Arena with Cook Coffee Company president Roy Miner and Coca Cola Company president William Mashburn

Image Courtesy of The Cleveland Plain Dealer

Owner and co general manager Nick Mileti studying over the NBA draft with cavs head coach Bill Fitch

Image Courtesy of The Cleveland Plain Dealer

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2 Responses to Nick Mileti

  1. Avatar of Mark Souther Mark Souther says:

    Check this content against your final draft of the essay and my comments on that. I still see some things that I had suggested changing, such as the fact that E. 116th was not considered “inner city” at the time about which you write. In general, the description needs a careful proofreading for grammar. I see a number of small things in it that need to be corrected.

    Regarding images, surely there must be more than three available. These also are not cited, so I have no idea where they’re from. Remember that anything that’s related to Mileti is potentially useful for images — WTAM, the Cavs in the 1970s, the Arena, a scanned newspaper headline from the Press Collection, etc.

  2. Avatar of cciullafaup cciullafaup says:

    I did not know the history behind Mileti. I was unaware of him taking the cavs to richfield. Overall, i think the main description is informative. I enjoyed learning the link to 1100am, as i tend to listen to sports talk and Triv, quite a bit (even if its frustrating). Maybe, a couple of the images could use a bit more info?

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