Brooklyn Nets New-Look Flaunts a Court That’s Unlike Any Other You’ve Seen in the NBA

The new Nets court for the 2019-20 season pulls in influences from blacktops, train stations and brownstones. (Mike Lawrence/@mikelawrencesport)

IBexclusive News Monday, September 23, 2019.

IBEXNews - The Nets aren’t just welcoming Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant to Brooklyn this season; they’ll also be welcoming a brand-new court at Barclays Center this season and likely for years to come. It’s a light gray court with a dark gray paint, featuring hardwood light brown accents up and down the floor. It’s almost like something you’d find at Brooklyn Bridge Park, or any other park in the borough with a halfway decent blacktop court.

Or maybe it’s something you’d find underground at the closest train station.

The logo in the center of the floor has been simplified, losing the city and state wordmarks which previously adorned it. (Mike Lawrence/@mikelawrencesport)

The logo in the center of the floor has been simplified, losing the city and state wordmarks which previously adorned it. (Mike Lawrence/@mikelawrencesport)

Nets creatives say they’ve reincorporated influences from New York’s subway system in the new court design. The lettering for “Brooklyn Nets” on each baseline — Helvetica — is the typeface used at every train station in New York City. The white tiling that hugs the sidelines is the same tiling that hugs underground train railroads. The Nets had actually made the mistake of removing the subway inspirations from the court in previous seasons.

“The subway design really resonated,” Jeff Gamble, Brooklyn’s vice president of content and creative, told ESPN. “We got a couple of eyebrow raises [over moving away from it]. We nodded along at that. We felt like we had made a change for the sake of change. We could have handled it better.”

Consider this an attempt by the Nets brass to go against the NBA grain, and do something uniquely Brooklyn. It should be a hit, and it doesn’t stop there. The Nets will also bring back the “Brooklyn Camo," a nod to Notorious B.I.G. and the Coogi sweaters he made famous, only this season, they’ll be on white jerseys, not the black from previous years. The center court logo has also undergone a change. It’s much, much bigger and no longer reads, “Brooklyn Nets;" only a blown-up "B" for Brooklyn.

“You are going to see that on a lot of merchandise this year,” Nets GM Sean Marks told ESPN of the logo overhaul.

Brooklyn joins limited company among teams that have successfully moved away from a traditional hardwood court. The Boston Celtics have long had a parquet floor dating back to their years at the Boston Garden and currently at the TD Garden. The Bucks, Cavaliers, Nuggets and Pelicans have each experimented with shading on their home courts. One team proposed a black floor and was rejected, according to ESPN. No team has ever gone gray.

The gray courts will still have to pass the eye test, and the Nets play their first game on their new home floor on Oct. 4 against Brazil’s SESI/Franca Basketball Club. They’ll then travel to China for two games against the Los Angeles Lakers -- one in Shanghai, another in Shenzhen -- before returning to their redone court on Oct. 18 for their final preseason game against the Toronto Raptors.

The gray courts are different, so different, the NBA hasn’t seen anything like it. But remember, the black-and-white jerseys were first perceived as dull and boring when the Nets first moved to Brooklyn. Now, it’s hard to imagine the Nets wearing anything else in a borough primed for its deepest postseason run in the Marks and Kenny Atkinson era.

The new court is a Brooklyn thing — it might take some getting used to.


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