Grant Gilbert, the Mastermind Behind the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Partnership With Daniel Arsham, Explores Artnet Galleries

Grant Gilbert, director of brand strategy for the Cleveland Cavaliers, has become an evangelist for the crossover between art and sports. 

Photo by Josh Teplitz. Courtesy of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The art and sports worlds moved ever closer last week when it was announced that the Cleveland Cavaliers had hired artist Daniel Arsham to serve as the franchise’s creative director, an unprecedented partnership between a visual artist and an NBA team. As the director of brand strategy for the Cleveland Cavaliers, Grant Gilbert spearheaded the initiative—and he’s become an evangelist for the crossover potential between the art and sports worlds. 

Citing the work that Virgil Abloh, Kanye West, and Pharrell have done in the fashion realm as inspiration, Grant says he is “obsessed” with interdisciplinary collaboration.

“When looking at these types of partnerships, I thought, ‘Why couldn’t this apply to a basketball team? Isn’t basketball, in a way, art in itself?'” he says. “And when it occurred to me that Daniel was from Cleveland, I felt like that was the perfect and authentic opportunity.” Grant predicts the partnership will change how on-court product is perceived, and that one day, Arsham’s designs for the Cavs’ jerseys will be collected by people interested not only in basketball, but art and fashion as well. 

Read on to find out what Grant has been reading, watching, and listening to lately, and see some of his favorite picks available right now from Artnet Galleries.

Grant’s Favorite Things

Movie: Interstellar.

Party favor: Catan.

Restaurant: San Morello (in Detroit).

Bucket list destination: Cape Town, South Africa.

Quarantine hobby: Basketball, ping-pong, and working.

Museum: Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD).

TV show: Game of Thrones.

Work by Daniel Arsham: Moving Basketball.

Book you’ve read recently: Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike.

Emoji: 💫🏁 

Podcast: Pardon My Take. 

Food to eat for breakfast: Sunny-side-up eggs, bacon, and toast. 

Way to celebrate success: With those you could not succeed without! Friends, family, and co-workers.

Grant’s Gallery Picks

Growing up with parents who collect, I learned at a young age the power and influence of art. I’m just now beginning to train my eye in terms of what art I gravitate to. I recognize that it is a process and evolution. Right now, I’m very interested in the “why” and the process. Tyrrell Winston’s idea of the cult of the celebrity, Daniel [Arsham] using basketball as a medium, REVOK creating his art with a machine he personally built—the story behind the work is really what I gravitate toward at this point in time.

Katherine Bernhardt
Nike Panther (2019)

Courtesy of Lougher Contemporary.

Robert Rauschenberg
Untitled (1978)

Courtesy of Galerie von Vertes.

Sarah Morris
Geigy Clips (2011)

Courtesy of MLTPL.

Jessica Taylor Bellamy
Kind of Hardcore (2019)

Courtesy of Superposition Gallery.

Zipora Fried
Some Other Men (2020)

Courtesy of Sikkema Jenkins.

Henri Cartier-Bresson
Queen Charlotte’s Ball, London (1959)

Courtesy of HackelBury Fine Art.


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