CLEVELAND — With an eye-catching exterior on East 6th street, bright natural light, and a modern design, the newly opened Center Court is a reimagined take on the traditional team shop.
"It should be shocking when you walk in here," Cleveland Cavaliers Chief Marketing Officer Chris Kaiser says. "I think just even across the whole NBA, it's a completely different retail experience than you're going to find anywhere else."
"It also has little hints throughout the store that are supposed to give you kind of a view behind the scenes at a Cavs game," Kaiser told 3News. "The archways kind of look like the tunnels the players will come through."
The space also features a retro space that houses throwback gear and a locker room-inspired jersey area. The second level pays tribute to ice hockey with a new wing dedicated solely to merchandise for the AHL Cleveland Monsters, including wall displays inspired by hockey boards and a floor meant to look like an ice rink.
In addition to standard team gear, Center Court also offers unique items and collaborations you won’t find anywhere else.
"We have a bigger collection than we've ever had on hand, but also some of these unique collaborations," Kaiser said. "We have a whole corner of the store that's just dedicated to some of those specific ones we've done with Daniel Larson, Kid Cudi, [and] Human Made Concrete Flowers."
It's all centered around the captivating basketball run — a two-story kinetic sculpture inspired by a traditional children's marble run.
Center Court is open for all Cavs and Monsters home games and select special events, but it's also open every Monday through Friday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Kaiser and the organization hope the store becomes a Cleveland attraction in it's own right.
"We want this to be a destination that people come to and they're like, 'Rock Hall, let's go. Let's take a look around the city [and] downtown,' then we want them to stop by Center Court."
A portion of the proceeds from all Center Court sales in the month of May will go to NF Forward in memory of Nick Gilbert, son of Cavs Chairman Dan Gilbert, who passed away earlier this month from complications related to Neurofibromatosis 1 (NF 1).