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5 Practice Facilities That Changed the Game

The Clippers do it in Playa Vista. The Cavaliers do it in Independence, Ohio. The Wizards do it in Washington, D.C.... we're talking about where NBA teams perfect their craft: practice facilities.

Since redesigning the Detroit Pistons practice facility in 2007, we have seen these venues evolve greatly over a short amount of time into the multi-purpose performance centers that are popping up everywhere today. The transformation is no surprise as practice facilities are like a second home for teams, these venues have to strike the perfect balance of functionality and amenities. 

Franchises have evolved from training in any gym available, to team training in a home gym or inside the actual venue, to what it is now: news-breaking naming nights deals, partnering with local healthcare providers, G League affiliate training, WNBA tourneys, and non-team events that involve exhibitions and community connections.

There are direct benefits to practice facilities such as creating a vehicle for improved team performance, and indirect benefits like providing revenue associated with brand activation (naming rights, real-estate opportunities, etc.).

Below are five ROSSETTI-designed NBA practice facilities that have pushed the envelope in training facility design:

Henry Ford – Detroit Pistons Performance Center | Detroit, MI

In the heart of New Center, the Detroit Pistons are constructing a new home. While the team plays a stone’s throw away in Little Caesar’s Arena, the 100,000 SF Performance Center is under construction until July 2019. Once the dust settles, the Pistons will have brought new retail, a local grocer, a state-of-the-art medical facility, and more to a neighborhood that needed a little love. Activating the Performance Center with dining, retail, and a green space will make it a year-round destination for Detroiters and sports fans alike.

Entertainment + Sports Arena | Washington, D.C.

In a more expansive bid for housing a number of teams (along with concerts and community events, as well as serving as a catalyst for new opportunities in Ward 8) the 118,000 SF Entertainment + Sports Arena (ESA) will be the practice center for the Washington Wizards. It will also be the dedicated home of the WNBA’s Washington Mystics and the G-League’s Capital City Go-Go. To the tune of $65-million, the building will include hydrotherapy, players’ lounges, convention space, and more. The ESA is set to be completed in spring of 2019.

UCLA Health Training Center | El Segundo, CA

The recently-completed home of the L.A. Lakers is truly a holistic center for turning their roster into world-class athletes. “We started the process thinking we were simply working on the design for a new training center. After the discovery session we realized we were creating something much more: a home and campus for the Lakers to define the next dynasty,” said President Jeanie Buss. The interior boasts a 750-seat practice and exhibition court, offices for business operations, an executive office overlooking two basketball courts, a weight and conditioning gym, plyometric training areas, a theater/screen room, a barbershop, a kitchen directed by a nutritionist, and a player quiet room, and more. The exterior is adorned with 276 vertical fins that circle the building, which represent the individuals who helped elevate the franchise into superstardom.

Los Angeles Clippers Training Facility | Playa Vista, CA

It’s almost unimaginable, but once upon a time the Clippers were homeless. The team trained at a public health club and practiced at a junior college. The franchise offices were located miles away. This inhibited team camaraderie, coaching, and day-to-day management functions. When ROSSETTI stepped in, it was to ensure all the management and team functions would be under one, well-designed roof. The Clippers’ steel and glass facility is transparent and light-filled, featuring open views of the training courts, common areas, and work spaces.

Cleveland Clinic Courts | Independence, OH

Just outside of Cleveland, the renovated home of the Cavaliers is multi-functional and welcoming with ample space for hosting community and charity events for their education and outreach activities. The design communicates the Cavaliers brand through a graphical overview of the franchise. Interior graphics was an important scope for this makeover, with the blank walls transferred to illustrate team milestones and the history of the franchise.