Sunday, December 19, 2010

Texas Showcase (in Dallas)

Yesterday, the American Airlines Center in Dallas hosted a men's college doubleheader, known as The Showcase, pitting Arkansas against Texas A&M, and Gonzaga against Baylor. People in few, if any, states like to display their spirit and symbolism more than Texans, as illustrated on the court below (screenshots from's video archive).

In keeping with the design of the Texas flag, the left half of the court (from the television perspective) had its entire out-of-bounds area and sides of the key (the area denoting the difference between college and pro keys) in blue. On the right side of the court, these features were split between white and red.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Oregon's Court for its New Arena

Via UniWatch, here's a rendering of what the court will look like at the University of Oregon's new arena. I hope someone isn't playing a practical joke on the college-basketball world! As I understand the design, it's supposed to present the view one would have laying on one's back, in the middle of a forest. Up above, you would see a burst of sunlight, surrounded by a perimeter of trees.

Friday, October 29, 2010

NBA: Warriors, Jazz Go Retro

I've only seen bits and pieces of a few NBA games in the opening days of the 2010-11 season, but there are at least two teams that have gone back to an earlier era in franchise history with their court designs and uniforms. These are the Golden State Warriors and Utah Jazz.

The Warriors, who sported a space-invader type of logo in recent years, have now gone back to a bridge motif (reminiscent of both the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges) as the major component of their emblem. The shift hearkens back to the team's days as the San Francisco Warriors before the move to Oakland in 1971 (see franchise history). This photo from the Warriors' home opener against Houston shows the new retro center-court design.

Meanwhile, the Jazz has brought back its music-note logo (hearkening back to the team's founding as the New Orleans Jazz; see franchise history), although the mountain logo of more recent years has not completely been abandoned. This team press conference featured artist renderings of both logos. I don't know exactly how the two logos will coexist. As seen in this highlights video from Utah's home opener against Phoenix, it was the music-note logo at center court.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Texas Tech's New Floor

Texas Tech University's United Spirit Arena has a new floor design. Here's a photo I took last night at the women's volleyball home opener. The new design has the surrounding out-of-bounds area in red, with no coloration of the keys (you may click on the images to enlarge them).

The new key features the Big XII logo, which is kind of odd because this summer's conference realignment has shrunk the conference to 10 schools. The company which repainted the floor, School Graphics, has a photo essay documenting the process.

Lastly, for comparison purposes, here's an old image I found on the web, of what the United Spirit Arena's court used to look like.

Both the old and new designs sport the university's traditional Double-T logo at center-court, although it appears to be somewhat bigger on the new floor. The old floor, of course, utilized both of the school's main colors, red (for the keys) and black (out of bounds). A more subtle shift is that, whereas both baselines used to say "TEXAS TECH," now only one says "TEXAS TECH" and the other says "RED RAIDERS."

I attended the first-ever basketball game in the United Spirit Arena, on November 19, 1999, when Bob Knight (who became Texas Tech's coach two seasons later) brought his Indiana squad to Lubbock to face the Red Raiders. I immediately took a liking to the black-outline/red-key floor. Whether the new floor will grow on me remains to be seen...

Sunday, August 29, 2010

FIBA Men's World Championships in Turkey

The international basketball federation FIBA holds a world men's championships every four years, in even-numbered years in which there is no summer Olympics. This year's tournament is being hosted by the nation of Turkey, in various locations around the country. The tournament homepage can be accessed by clicking here. The court from one of the games is shown below. It looks fairly ordinary, except of course for the trapezoidal key used in international play and the wordmark in the middle of the free-throw circle.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Flooding of Iowa State's Hilton Coliseum

This item is not so much about court design, as about major damage to a court. Via the UniWatch blog, we have some links about the severe flooding of Hilton Coliseum at Iowa State University (you have to scroll pretty far down, once the UniWatch page comes up). Here's a video of the draining of water from the building. I also found this photo montage. Cyclones' women's volleyball has had its entire home schedule moved out of Hilton, but the facility is expected to reopen in time for the women's basketball home opener on November 4. I'm sure I speak for readers of this blog in wishing the people of Ames the speediest possible repairs to any damage suffered to their homes and other property, and in wishing that Hilton Coliseum returns as quickly as possible to being a rockin' basketball venue (screen capture below from this ISU athletics photo gallery).

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Time-Lapse Video of Ohio U. Center-Court Being Repainted

Via a discussion board at, an Ohio University fan site, here's a time-lapse video of the school's basketball arena (the Convocation Center or "Convo") getting a new center-court floor design. I'm surprised the new logo was painted directly over the old one, without the old one being removed more thoroughly. One participant on the aforementioned discussion board suggested it might be a cost-saving measure, as a comprehensive refinishing of the court presumably would have been more expensive.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Old Milwaukee Arena (aka The MECCA and U.S. Cellular)

One of the things I like to do when the NCAA and NBA are in their off-seasons is "go retro" and examine historical court designs. Before the Milwaukee Bucks moved in 1988 to their current home, the Bradley Center, they played in what is now known as U.S. Cellular Arena and was previously known as Milwaukee Arena and the MECCA. Toward the end of the Bucks' time at the MECCA, the bulding sported an unusual floor design -- dreamed up by pop artist Robert Indiana -- that used different shades of shellac to create a giant "M" on either side of the half-court line (see image below, which I took from here). In case you've wondered what happened to the double-M floor, the answer is here.

Even before Robert Indiana's contribution, however, the Milwaukee Arena/MECCA featured another unusual floor element, a dotted (not dashed) line semi-circle in the keys (above right; from the video “Oscar Robertson best skilled player ever,” available on YouTube).

Sunday, April 4, 2010

NCAA Women's Final Four Court

It's become a given in recent years that the court designs for the NCAA women's Final Four are more colorful and elaborate than the men's design. This year's women's court in San Antonio, which we're now seeing on ESPN during the first semifinal, between Stanford and Oklahoma, certainly does have a lot of color, but I don't know how attractive it is. Here is an online photo gallery from Baylor [link updated], which shows the center-circle area and part of the three-point arcs and free-throw lines. The center logo's color scheme matches that of the Texas state flag, including the white star on blue field. What I don't understand, though, are what look like huge red blobs covering the entire area inside the three-point arcs.

Monday, March 29, 2010

WSJ's "Daily Fix" Cites Our Blog

Today's installment of The Daily Fix, the Wall Street Journal's online "all-purpose sports report," features a lot of coverage of the weekend's March Madness NCAA basketball action. Included in the mix is a paragraph about the homogenized court design, which provides a shout-out and a link to our blog. Our thanks to the Fix!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Ole Miss Court Only Slightly Different Than NCAA's, But Much Better Looking

I watched some of tonight's NIT game between the school where I'm on the faculty, Texas Tech, and the University of Mississippi. One of the things that jumped out at me was how the keys on Ole Miss's court were only slightly different from those on the NCAA tournament's uniform court, but much better looking, in my view at least. Shown below are some screen captures I made, juxtaposing the NCAA court (above) and Ole Miss court (below). Both have unpainted keys and solid blue semi-circles. Maybe it's just me, but by having heavy, as opposed to thin, lines outlining the sides of the key, the Mississippi court just looks more complete.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

NCAA, NIT, etc., Open Thread

It looks like another year of boring uniformity on the NCAA front...

UPDATE: Via Uni Watch Blog, here's a time-lapse video of the Energy Solutions Arena floor being converted from the Utah Jazz hardwood to the NCAA's.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Boxed-Off Ad at Vermont for AE Tourney

I thought Vermont's court, from which this year's America East men's tournament final today was televised, had some unusual features (see screen-capture below). Advertisements on courts are not uncommon. I don't recall, however, ever before seeing an ad set apart in its own box, the way the Vermont/America East court did for Newman's Own (the foundation of the late actor Paul Newman, which sells food products). The white America East logo against the wood of the key also looked interesting. Designers should just make sure a logo is visible, which it barely was in this case, I would say.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Mississippi State Spells it All Out at Center Court

While watching some of today's Tennessee at Mississippi State men's game on TV, I saw some feature's of Mississippi State's court that I didn't recall seeing before. I did a little research and indeed the Bulldogs have made a few changes this year. The top photo in the following montage is the current court (photo from the university's athletic website). Not only is there the big MISSISSIPPI STATE spell-out across the center of the court, but there's a Bulldog logo to the lower-right and upper-left of the wordmark. The logo shown in the montage below (obtained from here) appears to be the same one used on the court; if it's not that exact logo, it's something close. Finally, in the lower-right of the montage, we see the old M-STATE logo (source); note, however, that the court also included a Mississippi State spell-out (not in all capitals) just above the center-court M-STATE (I've added an arrow to show the location of the old spell-out).

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Duquesne's Solid Red-Zone

The court at Duquesne University's Palumbo Center features the key and adjoining semi-circle all in solid red. One doesn't see that type of design much anymore. It reminds me a bit of the court the old Seattle Supersonics used to have at the Kingdome, as shown in this 1979 video from a playoff game against Phoenix.

Friday, February 19, 2010

State Outlines Revisited (2/19/10)

Reader Kevin Z. added a comment to the previous (Vanderbilt) thread, asking about universities that do (or did) include a state shape or outline as part of their center-court design:

You have mentioned state outlines on courts before on the blog. Do you know if there is a list anywhere or do you know many off the top of your head?

Here's what I have:
Current: UNC, Indiana, Mizzou, Texas, Texas A&M, Michigan State
Former: Tennessee, Kansas

The earlier entry on state shapes and outlines was posted roughly a year ago and is available here. It features a photo of Tennessee's old court design. Kevin was also kind enough to provide a link to Kansas's old court with the shape of the state (click here and then see Comments).

Missouri's court (shown below in a screenshot I made from YouTube) seems to barely qualify, as the relatively faint state outline is overwhelmed by the Tiger logo.

I don't know if Michigan State should be included, as its state shape is not used as the main center-circle design, but rather in a complementary fashion.

To the list of schools that formerly featured a state shape at midcourt, we can add Ohio State (St. John's Arena) and Oregon. Also, I think Kentucky's pre-Rupp Arena court may have featured a state shape, but I can't find any photos right now.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Vanderbilt's Extra Floor Space

Normally on this blog, we discuss court design elements such as logos and whether the keys or three-point areas are painted in. Vanderbilt's court is unique in a different way, namely the extra empty space surrounding the court.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

FAU: Colorful, Though Not Overdone

Last night, ESPN telecast a Florida high school match-up between two hot-shot prospects. The game was held at Florida Atlantic University (FAU) Arena, whose court I don't recall having seen before. Yes, the owl logo with outstretched wings is pretty big. I tend not to like courts I perceive as being too busy, designwise, but FAU stops short of crossing the line into excessive visual stimulation, in my view. And I do like the vivid colors. Here are some screen captures I took from

Saturday, January 30, 2010

ACC's Uniformity of Wordmark in Key

On many college basketball courts, the design will feature the logo of the home team's conference in the key. Many conferences appear to leave it to the discretion of each team how to handle the league logo. In the Big 12, for example, Iowa State has the conference logo in each key (just inside the free-throw line), whereas Texas Tech has solid red keys with a "XII" logo below and to the right of the center-court Double-T.

As I started looking into this issue more closely, it seemed that the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) might be one in which all member teams have the conference logo (or in this case, wordmark) in their keys. After looking at several YouTube videos and doing screen captures, I can now document the big "ACC" letters in all the teams' keys...

Whether it's a league policy that all schools feature the "ACC" in the key or just each school deciding independently to do so, I don't know. Most hardcore hoops fans will be able to recognize all the schools. For the record, though, they are (clockwise from upper right) Boston College, Duke, Maryland, Virginia Tech, NC State, Wake Forest, Florida State, North Carolina, Miami, Virginia, Georgia Tech, and Clemson.

Among other conferences, the Big East seems to have a lot of uniformity in the use of the conference wordmark in the key. The Big East has 16 teams. I have not checked all of their courts, but I've checked several and they all have the conference wordmark (here, here, and here).

If you know of other conferences that have complete uniformity on logos in the key, please share this information in the Comments section. If you could verify your assertion first by going to YouTube or other sites and viewing visual evidence from each court, that would be helpful.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Another Huge Midcourt Design: South Carolina

In watching the telecast of South Carolina's upset of No. 1 Kentucky last night, I couldn't help but notice the huge logo and wordmarks at center-court of the Gamecocks' Colonial Life Arena (screen capture from South Carolina thus joins the large-logo pantheon, already inhabited by schools such as Syracuse, Kansas, and Cleveland State (see earlier entries on this blog).

Back in 2002, when Colonial Life Arena was being built, the school actually held a fan vote to determine the original court design. Today's court decorations, however, are far more outsized than the options available in 2002.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

NBA Live (video game) Depictions of "Classic Courts"

While searching the web recently for pages on basketball court design, I came across the posting of video game images of roughly 25 "classic" courts used in NBA Live (from EA Sports). Included among the visual depictions are the Capital Centre (former home of the Washington Bullets, now Wizards), Hemisfair Arena (San Antonio), Kingdome and Seattle Center Coliseum (Seattle), Mecca (Milwaukee, with the famous "M" design), and Omni (Atlanta).

Monday, January 18, 2010

Lakers Courts of the 1960s and '70s (Sports Arena and Forum)

While visiting my parents in Los Angeles over the holidays, I found some Lakers' team pictures from my childhood and teenage years, in my old room. As shown below, the pictures pretty well capture the Laker courts of the 1960s and '70s (you can click on the photo montage to enlarge it). Having moved to L.A. from Minneapolis for the 1960-61 season, the Lakers played their first seven seasons in La-La Land at the Sports Arena. They then moved to the newly contructed Forum in 1967, which is where they stayed until 1999 (team history).

The Sports Arena floor can be seen in the 1966-67 picture (white home uniforms with blue trim). The latter two photos are from the 1970-71 and 1977-78 teams, who sported yellow home uniforms with purple trim at the Forum. By clicking on the year-specific links, you can see the roster for the respective season.

The close-ups of the Forum center circles are from two of the team pictures. The major change in the floor from the early to the late 1970s was the shift from black trim with the focal yellow to orange trim (neither black nor orange being a team color, by the way). The Forum court changed a little more during the 1980s and '90s, primarily the out-of-bounds area becoming purple (instead of the prior yellow), but the center-court area didn't appear to change much (see the ending of the final game at the Forum, in the 1999 playoffs, in this YouTube video).

Starting with the 1999-2000 season, the Lakers moved to the newly constructed Staples Center in downtown L.A., where their center-court decoration is simply the team logo (a basketball with "LAKERS" on it).

Monday, January 11, 2010

U. Michigan's Crisler Arena, Mid-1980s

In recent years, the center-court area of the University of Michigan's Crisler Arena has been dominated by a big block M, with little color of any kind on the court. Over the holidays, my sister Lynn gave me an old photo (shown below) from when she visited me at UM during my graduate-school days there. The picture was taken circa 1986, definitely in summer! Back then, the court design made more extensive use of the school's famed Maize and Blue colors (if you go to this page and look at photo 14, you'll see that the keys were painted maize, as well).