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The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

 

The Milwaukee Bucks have re-created the Robert Indiana-designed basketball floor for their "Return to the MECCA" game Thursday.

Dubbed the "floor that made Milwaukee famous," the colorful court will be used for one game — the Bucks game against the Boston Celtics Oct. 26. ESPN first reported on the floor project.

The game is being played at what is now called the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena. The Bucks played home games in the arena, then called the MECCA, until the BMO Harris Bradley Center opened in 1988.

The new floor was built and painted by Prostar Services Inc., a local company that's in the process of moving from Mequon to the Menomonee Valley.

The floor has been stored at a south side high school and will be installed at the arena on Monday, said Hal Koller, company president.

Prostar has been the Bucks' flooring contractor for 25 years and built the floors in use at the BMO Harris Bradley Center and the Bucks' new practice facility.

After Thursday's game, the Robert Indiana design will be removed, Koller said.

"It's a one-time deal," he said of the use of the Indiana design.

In a statement, the Bucks said the permission to use the floor design was reached through an agreement with Artists Rights Society and the Morgan Art Foundation, which represents the rights and permission interests of Indiana.

"On this special night at the MECCA, it's only fitting for fans to have another chance to see the Bucks play on this iconic court," Dustin Godsey, Bucks chief marketing officer, said in a statement.

"Robert Indiana's famously designed floor is a major part of the legacy of the Bucks and the city of Milwaukee and we're proud to celebrate the team's heritage in our 50th anniversary season."

The new floor will be used as an "event floor" at the new arena being built for the Wisconsin Herd, the Bucks' G-League affiliate in Oshkosh, he said. Another floor is being created for Wisconsin Herd games.

Koller said the Indiana-themed floor will add to the excitement over the NBA game at the intimate arena.

"I don't think people realize how cool it really was," he said of the design.

The city hired pop artist Indiana to create the floor in 1977. It was left behind when the Bucks moved to the Bradley Center.

Koller's nephew Ben owns the original Indiana MECCA floor and it is in storage in the Milwaukee area, Hal Koller said.

The original Indiana floor was reassembled and displayed at the arena in 2013 when Ben Koller sought a buyer for the work.

The floor was the subject of an ESPN short film in 2014.

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October 21, 2017
 
 
 

 

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