The Celtics play at the Bucks on Thursday night in a matchup of two likely playoff teams in the East, but the game won't be played at Milwaukee's home stadium, the Bradley Center. In honor of the Bucks' 50th anniversary season, the game will take place at UW-Milwaukee Panther arena, which was known as MECCA Arena (Milwaukee Exposition, Convention Center and Arena) when the Bucks called it home from 1968–88.
The court will, of course, feature the same dimensions as a traditional NBA floor, but it will be painted in the same bright colors that made the original stand out decades ago.
The Bucks contemplated using the original MECCA court but decided the player-safety concerns were too significant, so a brand new NBA-approved floor was constructed instead.
Still, Kyrie Irving voiced concern about playing on a court that does not regularly hold NBA games.
Speaking with reporters, Kyrie Irving said the court felt different to him.
"I'm all about safety, so just see how it is on my knees, see how it is on everyone's bodies. I know that this is a pretty older court, looks like it's fresh painted as well. Just gonna do my assessment and go from there."
Irving went on to say that he felt he could tell the difference between the court and a normal court quickly.
"Yeah, yeah. It took me three steps to realize that this is not the same NBA court that I'm used to playing on."
The Bucks had the benefit of practicing on the floor before Thursday's game, providing the home team an opportunity to familiarize itself with a court that has confused so many over the years with its unique design.
“Being on this floor that has a lot of history — Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Oscar Robertson, a lot of players played on this floor — I’m excited for tomorrow’s game,” Giannis Antetokounmpo told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. “It takes a little bit of time to get used to (the court) because it’s kind of bright. That’s why we practiced today here so we can get used to it, but I love it.”