The Milwaukee Bucks have been making a concerted effort to recall the NBA franchise’s very first season in 1968 as the 50th-anniversary approaches. The team unveiled retro jerseys that they plan to wear for certain games throughout the season when they’re not wearing their new Nike uniforms. Now, they’re taking the basketball court itself back in time.
Per Darren Rovell, the team announced Friday that their October 26 game against the Boston Celtics will be played at the former Milwaukee Exposition, Convention Center and Arena (MECCA) on a replica court design. The design created by pop artist Robert Indiana in 1977, harkens back to the team’s original home, where they played from 1968 to 1988.
The MECCA, which is now known as UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena, seats 10,783, 8,000 less than their current home.
“Robert Indiana’s famously designed floor is a major part of the legacy, not only of the Bucks but of the city of Milwaukee,” Bucks chief marketing officer Dustin Godsey told Rovell. “We really had a hard time imagining playing a game in the old arena without the court being there as well, and giving fans one last opportunity to see ‘the floor that made Milwaukee famous.'”
In order to make the court happen, the team had to hire a company to match the paint scheme on a new basketball court before another company painted on it. The floor has been hiding out at a local high school but will move over to UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena this weekend.
Per the team’s agreement with the Artists Rights Society and Morgan Art Foundation, the court will be used once before being sanded down and repainted and then head to Oshkosh Arena where it will be a court for the Bucks’ G League team, the Wisconsin Herd.
The Bucks went to two NBA Finals while calling the MECCA home, winning the franchise’s lone NBA Title in 1971. Given how good the team looks this season, who knows if this return visit might give them the extra juice to get back there.