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Theodore J. "Ted" Stepien was an American businessman who owned the Cleveland Cavaliers of the National Basketball Association from 1980 to 1983. Born in Pittsburgh in 1925, he became wealthy as the founder of Nationwide Advertising Service and purchased an interest in the Cavaliers on April 12, 1980. His tenure as owner of the Cavs was highly controversial, resulting in multiple coaching changes and poor performances by the team, and his management decisions ultimately led the NBA to create what is known as the "Ted Stepien rule" to restrict how teams can trade draft picks. A December 6, 1982 article in The New York Times described the Cavaliers during Stepien's ownership as "the worst club and most poorly run franchise in professional basketball." After selling his interest in the Cavaliers in 1983, he continued to be involved professional basketball, owning teams in the Continental Basketball Association and the Global Basketball Association. Later in life he founded the United Pro Basketball League, along other business ventures in the Cleveland area. He died in 2007 after suffering a heart attack.

Born Theodore Stepien
(1925-06-09)June 9, 1925
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Died September 10, 2007(2007-09-10) (aged 82)
Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
Occupation businessman, sports franchise owner, entrepreneur
Years active 1981–83 as owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers
2003–07 as Founder and Commissioner of the United Pro Basketball League

Theodore J. "Ted" Stepien (June 9, 1925 – September 10, 2007) was an American businessman who owned the Cleveland Cavaliers of the National Basketball Association (NBA) from 1980 to 1983. Born in Pittsburgh in 1925, he became wealthy as the founder of Nationwide Advertising Service and purchased an interest in the Cavaliers on April 12, 1980. His tenure as owner of the Cavs was highly controversial, resulting in multiple coaching changes and poor performances by the team, and his management decisions ultimately led the NBA to create what is known as the "Ted Stepien rule" to restrict how teams can trade draft picks. A December 6, 1982 article in The New York Times described the Cavaliers during Stepien's ownership as "the worst club and most poorly run franchise in professional basketball." After selling his interest in the Cavaliers in 1983, he continued to be involved professional basketball, owning teams in the Continental Basketball Association and the Global Basketball Association. Later in life he founded the United Pro Basketball League, along other business ventures in the Cleveland area. He died in 2007 after suffering a heart attack.

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