Kaun, Cavaliers win NBA title

OAKLAND, Calif. – In his first NBA season, former Kansas standout Sasha Kaun has won an NBA title as the Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Golden State Warriors, 4-3, with their 93-89 victory Sunday night in Oakland, California. Kaun was not on the Cleveland active roster for the playoffs but appeared in 25 games during the 2015-16 regular season.

The Cavaliers became the first team ever to overcome a 3-1 deficit in the NBA Finals, defeating a Warriors team that set the league record in regular-season wins (73-9).  

Kaun joins teammates Brandon Rush and Mario Chalmers and Clyde Lovellette as Jayhawks who have won both an NCAA National Championship and an NBA title during their basketball career. Lovellette (3) and Chalmers (2) have won multiple NBA crowns.

Kaun, Rush and Chalmers were on Kansas’ 2008 NCAA National Championship team. Chalmers, who was the Most Outstanding Player (MOP) of the 2008 Final Four, won his two NBA titles with the Miami Heat in 2012 and 2013. Rush won his title in 2015 with Golden State. Kaun was drafted by Cleveland in the second round of the 2008 NBA Draft and played professionally in his home country, Russia, until the 2015-16 season.

Lovellette was the MOP of the 1952 NCAA Tournament in which Kansas won in Seattle. He later won three NBA titles with the Minneapolis Lakers in 1954 and the Boston Celtics in 1963 and 1964.

Kaun is the 12th different Jayhawk to win an NBA title. The group has collectively been a part of 17 NBA crowns.

KU NBA Champions
Clyde Lovellette (1950-52 at KU), Minneapolis Lakers – 1954; Boston Celtics – 1963, 1964
Sasha Kaun (2005-08 at KU), Cleveland Cavaliers – 2016
Maurice King (1955-57 at KU), Boston Celtics – 1960
Wilt Chamberlain (1957-58 at KU), Philadelphia 76ers – 1967; L.A. Lakers – 1972
Jo Jo White (1966-69 at KU), Boston Celtics – 1974, 1976
Bill Bridges (1959-61 at KU), Golden State Warriors – 1975
Wayne Simien (2002-05 at KU), Miami Heat – 2006
Jacque Vaughn (1994-97 at KU), San Antonio Spurs – 2007
Paul Pierce (1996-98 at KU), Boston Celtics – 2008
Scot Pollard (1994-97 at KU), Boston Celtics – 2008
Mario Chalmers (2006-08 at KU), Miami Heat – 2012, 2013
Brandon Rush (2006-08 at KU), Golden State Warriors – 2015

Kansas NBA Finals Most Valuable Players
Wilt Chamberlain – 1972
Jo Jo White – 1976
Paul Pierce – 2008

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