Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Shared WNBA-NBA Courts (Part 1)

The most prominent form of basketball at this time of year in the U.S. is the WNBA. Ten of the 13 WNBA teams play in the same arenas as the NBA teams in their respective home cities (the three exceptions are in Connecticut and Seattle, which don't have NBA teams, and in Chicago, where the WNBA's Sky plays at UIC Pavilion instead of the United Center).

Of the 10 situations where a WNBA team shares an arena with an NBA team, I find it of interest to look at how similar or different the floor designs are for the two teams. Each within-city pair has the same (or similar) team colors, so the potential is there for the WNBA and NBA floors to be extremely similar in many cities. As shown below, there appear to be four cities in which the WNBA and NBA floors are virtually identical, except for the center logo (and the three-point line). You can click on the photo montage to enlarge it.

From top to bottom:

*The floor at Detroit's Palace of Auburn Hills is the same, except for whether the Shock (WNBA) or Pistons (NBA) logo is at center court.

*The floor at San Antonio's AT&T Center is the same, except for whether the Silver Stars (WNBA) or Spurs (NBA) logo is at center court.

*The floor at Sacramento's Arco Arena is the same, except for whether the Kings (NBA) or Monarchs (WNBA) logo appears at midcourt.

*The floor at Minneapolis's Target Center is the same, except for whether the Lynx (WNBA) or Timberwolves (NBA) logo appears at midcourt.

One qualification to the claims made about the arenas listed above is that the photos and video screen-captures I was able to obtain on the web may not be from the most recent seasons. Thus, buildings that had near-identical WNBA and NBA floors at one time may no longer have such similar layouts.

In doing research for this posting, I was surprised to learn that one of the most historically successful WNBA franchises, the Houston Comets, had suspended operations for 2009. For what it's worth, the Toyota Center's hardwood for Comet games looks like it was very similar to the Rockets' court.

In upcoming postings, we'll look at arenas where the home city's WNBA and NBA teams have different court designs.

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