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The Cleveland Cavaliers will change logo, says Daniel Arsham

The Cavs Creative Director talked about the new logo and the 2022 All-Star Weekend

The Cleveland Cavaliers will change logo, says Daniel Arsham The Cavs Creative Director talked about the new logo and the 2022 All-Star Weekend

Last November, the Cleveland Cavaliers became the first NBA franchise to appoint a creative director. It's an important moment because it reflects a change in the way of understanding sport and the visual culture it produces. The choice could only fall on a famous Cleveland native: Daniel Arsham. Arsham is one of the most famous international artists in the world, part of an elite of creatives - along with KAWS, Futura and Takashi Murakami - who managed to free themselves from conceptual gallery art and immerse themselves in the cross-sectoral nature of contemporary culture.

We met Arsham virtually on the occasion of the IKEA Art Event 2021 in which he participated together with five other artists and gave nss magazine an exclusive interview on the work of a contemporary artist and the position of creative director of the Cavs:

"I'm honored to have a position that is unique, because the title of creative director didn’t really exist before this. Part of my thinking was to blend basketball that is such an important part of American culture with art, design and fashion".

The trend that the Cavaliers courageously opened was also taken up by the Detroit Pistons who, exactly one month later, replicated Cleveland's strategy by entrusting the role to Big Sean. The creative direction of an NBA franchise - increasingly similar to a full-fledged brand - has become a mission for Daniel Arsham, who takes the matter very seriously also because he is romantically linked to what at the time of LBJ was renamed as The Land:

"My feeling with the Cavs was: How can I speak to audiences that don’t necessarily follow basketball but  also how can I interpret the team, the logo and the product we produce in cultural objects. You can be in Japan and see a kid walking around with a Lakers jersey and maybe he doesn’t have any idea who’s currently on the team and how the team is doing in that season but he’s wearing the jersey because of identity and what it represents to him. This is a really Interesting prospect".

The work he started with the Cavs has produced as the very first results a City Edition jersey among the most beautiful of the season and a reinterpretation of the parquet of the Quicken Loans Arena that enhances the musical heritage of the city that hosts the Hall of Fame and the museum of Rock & Roll. But the projects are much more ambitious and Arsham revealed that one of his works could concern the logo of the franchise that in 2016 raised the NBA title for the first time in its history:

"I've been working now for the Cavs for about 6 months and now I'm figuring out where I can take the team visually. We’ve a lot of ongoing projects: eventually there will be an evolution of our logo design, so I’m working on that. But also the design of the courts, the jerseys for next season".

Since LeBron left town in the summer of 2018, the Cavaliers have returned to occupying the lowest seats in the Eastern Conference. The steps of the rebuilding process also pass through Arsham's creative ideas, called to transform the city and arena in view of one of the most anticipated events of recent years: the 2022 All-Star Weekend hosted by the city of Cleveland and the Cavs.

"In 2022 we will also have the ASG hosted in Cleveland, so there’s a lot of design around that. And then I’m thinking also local creative: fashion designers based in Cleveland, there’s a whole food scene that we will try to elevate. So in the same way it's about the team but it is really about the city: the Cavs are the only professional NBA team of the entire state in Ohio so they represent the whole region there".


At nss magazine he revealed how to play with the icons of post-capitalist contemporary culture (while managing to offer a critique and exploit marketing mechanisms), how time has influenced his vision of art and how this can be a linguistic system. that works outside the constraints of language. To nss sports, on the other hand, he told a side more linked to his origins and to how much the exclusivity of his role allows him to explore his roots in a Cleveland that he will soon transform.