For all the games that are played on them, the design of the humble NBA basketball court is rarely improved. However, there have been some notable upgrades over the past few years, each a game changer in their own right. Herein, we look at the coolest upgrades to hit the pine recently.
The new/old Charlotte Hornets get their own court, and it’s awesome
Completing their transformation from the beleaguered Charlotte Bobcats to the Charlotte Hornets, the team has officially unveiled its brand new court design. It differs wildly from traditional courts, featuring a distinctive honeycomb-style design formed by more than 200 eight-foot parquets made of northern hard maple. According to ESPN, each separate “cell” locks together to facilitate quick arena changeovers. Gerald Henderson took to Instagram to show fans how the court looks from an NBA players’ perspective, and we have to admit it’s looking good. For this stylish court as well as the design of their new uniforms, the Hornets have Jordan Brand to thank.
The Milwaukee Bucks’ modern maple floor
Again with a non-traditional design, the Milwaukee Bucks started this past season with a fresh new look. They used two different shades of hand-stained Wisconsin hard maple to achieve the modern, angular effect, greatly improving the design over their earlier arena floor. Not immediately obvious is the fact that the contrasting lines create letter M’s readable from behind each basket, a subtle reminder as to whose house it is.
The Cleveland Cavaliers’ convincing 3D court
Earlier this year, Cavaliers fans were treated to a first for the NBA: the arena was fitted with a video system that could project simulated 3D graphics on the floor. Unveiled for the first time during Cleveland’s fond farewell to retiring legend Zydrunas Ilgauskas, they used it to create a very realistic display that made the pine appear to warp, swell and fall away before showing a highlight reel of the centre’s accomplishments for the franchise. While we can’t endorse dismissing halftime cheerleaders, we do want to see forward thinking like this on courts across the league.
Phoenix Suns prove less is more
Although extravagant designs and crazy projection systems do get fans excited, style swings both ways. The Phoenix Suns’ court was redressed to a more minimalistic design ahead of the 2012-13 season, which also serves to provide some context for just how rare these changeovers are. The franchise rid of its previously purple-centric sun logo at the U.S. Airways Center and replaced it with bold orange typography. We love it, and we’re not alone. According to polls conducted after the switch, fans overwhelmingly prefered the new look.