Contemporary artist, architect and Snarkitecture cofounder, fashion designer, basketball fan, and native Clevelander Daniel Arsham is heading home. Yesterday the Cleveland Cavaliers, formerly the home of Akron-native Lebron James (though that’s something of a sore point), announced that Arsham would be the NBA team’s newest creative director and take a minority stake in the franchise.
Arsham announced the news himself yesterday morning on Instagram, calling the chance to shape the team’s visual identity “a dream.” A third-generation Clevelander and a sports fan who continually incorporates references into his own and Snarkitecture’s work, Arsham has worked with the Cavaliers before—in 2019, he installed the kinetic Moving Basketball wall sculpture at the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, the team’s home arena, as part of the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse Public Art Program curated by the Detroit-based Library Street Collective. Anthony Curis, a co-founder and partner at the gallery, was, according to the Cavs, instrumental in starting up the connection.
Arsham is the first artist to take up the role in the NBA and the first-ever, period, for the Cavaliers. The partnership was reportedly initiated by the team’s director of brand strategy, Grant Gilbert, the son of cofounder and current Quicken Loans chairman, as well as the team’s owner, Dan Gilbert. Other than directing everything from the NBA team’s social media presence to its uniforms, according to the Wall Street Journal, Arsham will also be responsible for collaborating with the NHL’s Cleveland Monsters, minor-league Cavaliers affiliate team the Canton Charge, and the Cavs Legion, an e-sports team; all are owned by the elder Gilbert.
“Basketball, as a global phenomenon, is a reoccurring theme in my work and I am a longtime Cavs fan,” wrote Arsham in the team’s announcement. “However, most people don’t know that I have strong personal ties to Cleveland. My family’s Cleveland roots go back to 1908 when my great grandfather moved to The Land. My grandfather, father, and I were all born in Cleveland. Cleveland is an iconic American city, and the people of Cleveland have immense pride in their hometown. To join the Cavaliers as Creative Director, and to have the opportunity to help shape and lead the team’s visual identity as we look ahead to the future, is an unbelievable honor that I cannot wait to share with the full community of Cavs fans and partners here and around the world. I want to thank the Gilberts, as well as the entire organization for having this vision and inviting me to join the Cavs family.”
More information on what Arsham’s role will entail will reportedly be released in the next few weeks.