The instant LeBron James decamped from Cleveland for the second time in his career, the Cavaliers fell back into irrelevancy. Winning a combined 38 games over the two LeBron-less seasons and trotting Kevin Love as the best player doesn't warrant much attention, and the team doesn't show any signs of improving on the court. Instead, the Cavs are trotting out a new creative director in a bid for better branding.
Daniel Arsham has been announced as the Cavaliers' new creative director in a partnership the team touts as the first of its kind. The hypebeast-adored artist and architect will take responsibility for the "visual identity" of the Cavs, which presumably means he'll create new uniforms and possibly even a new logo in the future.
Arsham was born in Cleveland and can trace his family roots to the city back to 1908. He's a longtime Cavs fan and began working with his hometown team last year.
What does this mean? — While it seems too late for any drastic changes for the upcoming season, which begins in a little over a month, the Cavs say more details on Arsham's role will be announced in the coming weeks. Whatever the artist does with his authority seems like little more than a distraction from the awful brand of basketball the team will put on the court in the foreseeable future. The new role is a little like Steve Stoute's consultancy role to rebrand the New York Knicks in that the best things fans could possibly say is, "Cool, but can you please win some games?"
Last season, Arsham created an installation called Moving Basketball as part of a wider art initiative for the Cavaliers' renovated home arena. Other works include contributions from KAWS and Shepard Fairey, two artists that are also relevant to the streetwear scene. Bringing renowned artwork to the Cleveland area is a worthwhile injection of culture, but again, what fans want is a good team.
As both parties will tell it, this is a big deal for the franchise. Grant Gilbert, the Cavaliers' director of brand strategy and son of owner Dan Gilbert, said in a statement that Arsham's "singular vision" will "ensure that we continue to deliver world-class experiences, both on and off the court, for our community and fans worldwide."
Unless Arsham is, unbeknownst to us, a world-class scout, I don't see how the entirety of that statement is cool. But hey, at least there might be some better aesthetics in Cleveland while LeBron chases more championships in Los Angeles.