Tuesday, November 09, 2010
Oregon Goes 'Deep' With New Basketball Court Design
Will the University of Oregon's new arena floor be college basketball's version of Boise State's blue turf? |
Oregon's athletics department recently unveiled the centerpiece of the new $200 million Matthew Knight Arena — a wood surface, being installed now, that will feature distinctly symbolic references to the Pacific Northwest, as well as the two individuals most responsible for making the arena a reality: Nike co-founder and chairman Phil Knight and former Ducks athletic director Pat Kilkenny.
“We wanted to design the most iconic television presence possible for the University of Oregon by conjuring up a highly unique and visible basketball floor design,” Tinker Hatfield, vice president for design and special projects for Nike, said in a statement issued by the university. “It's inspired by our beautiful tree-covered region and the UO 1939 NCAA Championship basketball team nicknamed the ‘Tall Firs.’ ”
The court is framed by a representation of a view from beneath a forest of fir trees — an image that might take a moment or two to recognize, but once you finally see it, you'll never look at the floor a different way again. And, as Hatfield told GoDucksTV, the design could "throw off" opposing teams the first time they play on it.
Also present on the floor is the new arena logo, designed for the namesake of the building, Matthew Knight — Phil Knight's son, who died at the age of 34 in a scuba-diving accident. The words "Deep in the Woods" are emblazoned beneath the logo, while "Kilkenny Floor" is positioned above it. All told, the graphics took 2,500 man hours to complete, and almost two miles of stencil material was used, which is more than the 30 other floors combined that Connor has installed this year, Oregon officials say.
USA Today calls the floor "art," and ESPN.com's Diamond Leung said it is "just so very Oregon."
"I'm sure it's like everything we do at Oregon," Kilkenny told KVAL-TV. "There will be a lot of controversy in a positive way. People love to debate these things. It's like fashion. It's like politics. There [are] no absolutes." Gary Gray from the surface's manufacturer, Connor Sports Flooring, admitted to the CBS affiliate that he originally "thought it was pretty ugly, to be honest with you."
Gray grew to appreciate the court's design over time, though — something that might not happen with Glenn Davis. "I’m not a rabid traditionalist, but this is too much," Davis wrote for the sports news and opinion website Sports Grid. "Innovation is nice, but ... this feels a lot more like doing something just for the sake of doing it."
The Matthew Knight Arena is scheduled to open in January.