On the Beat: New Training Complex Brings Modern Feel, Promise

by Brian Seltzer
Sixers.com Reporter

CAMDEN, NJ - See that dateline to the left? It probably looks a little bit different, at least in the context of an article about the 76ers. Going forward, however, the South Jersey riverfront city will begin to assume a closer association with the team. And, from the perspective of prominent members of the organization, this development is as anticipated as it is necessary.

“It’s a new day for us,” Sixers’ Managing Owner Josh Harris said Friday morning, shortly after the official opening of the new state-of-the-art, Camden-based Philadelphia 76ers Training Complex.

Under a strong sun and bright blue sky, Harris was joined at the ribbon cutting ceremony by his wife Marjorie, who assumed a key role in helping design the facility. Co-Managing Owners David and Allison Blitzer also attended the event, along with fellow co-owners Martin Geller, David B. Heller, and Art Wrubel. Local and state politicians, including Camden mayor Dana Redd, took part in the festivities as well.

“It’s an incredible site, the best facility in the NBA,” Harris said of the two-story, 66,230 square foot structure, dedicated solely to the use of the basketball staff. The remaining space on the Sixers’ 125,000 square foot Camden campus will be occupied by the club’s business offices, which are set to open this winter.

“We’ve got the best medical facilities, the best nutrition, a great place for the guys to hang out [with] our coaches and our staff,” said Harris. “We’re really excited.”

Understandably so.

Since 1999, the headquarters for the Sixers’ basketball operations department, which accounts for all employees directly involved with the team’s on-court performance (player personnel, analytics, scouting, coaches, trainers, sports science, equipment, etc.), has been housed inside the recreational center at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. An opinion expressed by many Friday was that PCOM had always treated the Sixers well, but the time had come for the team to move into a more modern building.

Now, instead of being limited to working on a single court, the Sixers have two, both of which are regulation size.

Instead of needing to take a flight of stairs or elevator to the weight room, as was previously the case, players can now simply walk off the floor to an open area adjacent to the gym should they want to lift. Same goes for the training room, centrally located and equipped with video link capabilities that will allow team doctors and trainers to remotely communicate with players.

The locker room is comfortable, with 16 luxurious stalls, all of which feature sliding retractable walls offering privacy.

There’s a comprehensive hydrotherapy room with multiple pools and tubs.

There’s a Gatorade Fuel Bar, not to mention a restaurant on the second floor catering exclusively to the basketball staff. Jae Hee Cho, who ran the kitchens at the Stephen Starr-operated Parc and Serpico, will serve as the Sixers’ private chef.

Clearly, amenities did not go unconsidered.

“In the business today, there are so many things that you’re competing with with other franchises, it’s become a little bit of an arms race,” said Sixers President of Basketball Operations Bryan Colangelo, who spent a good portion of the morning in the locker room speaking with guests and reporters alike.

“We’re taking this to an entirely new level in terms of the health and performance and nutrition aspect of things. We’re really trying to drive excellence, create a culture of maximum performance, and trying to give them as many things that could help enhance that and get us there quicker.”

Brett Brown was intimately involved in mapping out the vision for the spacious, bright training complex, where transparency is a notable architectural theme, and there are vistas aplenty looking back westward to the Philadelphia skyline. The head coach's upbeat, enthusiastic demeanor Friday reflected the mood of the day, but then again, how could it not? His Sixers are finally moving into their new home, and the morning that it opened, about a dozen smiling players (including Ben Simmons and Dario Saric) gathered for a loose, laid-back workout.

“There’s a breath of fresh air, you feel like you’ve got a new hope,” said Brown, discussing the training complex’s potential impact. “I know from my perspective, to take this day, this moment, and as we move forward, to cleanse any demons from the past, to treat it as a launching pad moving forward, to build our program in a winning way. We all understand it’s going to take time, but I think we see the world in a new way, and this practice facility I think is a great starting point and launching pad to that attitude.”

Brown and the Sixers will host media day at the training complex this Monday, then head south to Atlantic County, where they’ll hold a four-day training camp at Stockton University. The team’s first formal practice in Camden is scheduled for Sunday, October 2nd.


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