December 16, 2015

Ranking all 30 NBA court designs: Art and sports meet on the playing surfaces of the NBA, where court design has evolved considerably over the past few decades. We asked four experts -- RedEye designer Sara Amato, Chicago Tribune data visualization editor Jonathon Berlin, Gameplan Creative chief creative officer Tom O'Grady and art critic Lori Waxman -- to rank the design of all 30 NBA courts. As you might expect, they don't always agree, but here are their reviews, ranked by aggregate points from worst to first.

posted by Ufez Jones to basketball at 10:53 AM - 8 comments

The Bulls (bold) and 76'ers (classic) are my favourites.

I think the Pelicans design is too harshly judged. I like the 3-point area.

One constant issue is that the arena sponsorship in the middle of the floor NEVER looks good.

posted by grum@work at 12:13 PM on December 16, 2015

Wait, did Lowe not come out with the definitive rankings this year?

The Warrior's court wins for me. I hate the Warriors for killing the post-Melo Nuggets so it's really annoying that I like basically all of their design choices.

posted by tron7 at 01:22 PM on December 16, 2015

Yeah, Lowe did one a few months back.

posted by yerfatma at 02:13 PM on December 16, 2015

Yeah, Lowe did one a few 15 months back.

(he did logo rankings this year)

posted by Ufez Jones at 02:16 PM on December 16, 2015

My "true green" self will not let me favor any but the Celtics' floor. I do appreciate the more minimalist designs that feature the center team (not arena sponsor) logo with little or no other decoration. Excessive floor decoration or patterning is distracting.

A little sidelight on the origin of the parquet floor in Boston might be of interest to some. When the Celtics first moved to the Boston Garden from the Boston Arena, the team wanted to save a dollar or two. Full length lumber was expensive, and team management found a place to buy scrap lumber at a very attractive price. Since the Boston Garden was a multiple use arena -- ice hockey, rodeo, circus, political gatherings, and my graduation from Northeastern University -- the basketball floor had to be removable. Thus the scrap lumber was fashioned into the square sections, which were numbered so that they could be assembled quickly and without error, and this became the famous "parquet" that supposedly had dead spots and odd bounces. The floor in TD Garden this season is brand new, and this can be seen because the bolt heads that hold the sections are still shiny.

posted by Howard_T at 02:49 PM on December 16, 2015

Lowe's rankings are always a bit weird to me because he is clearly not a graphic designer. Neither am I, but having worked with them for so long I am, in Brendan Behan's words (about theater critics), "A eunuch in a harem: they see it performed every night but are unable to do it themselves". He lets a lot of bad type work go and gives credit for some things that look horrendous to me (the new Bucks logo? Really?).

posted by yerfatma at 09:42 AM on December 17, 2015

From the logo rankings:

using a public font is a mark of shame among designers

They should vacation in France so they can see how much is done in public without shame.

posted by beaverboard at 12:50 PM on December 17, 2015

Lowe's rankings are always a bit weird to me because he is clearly not a graphic designer.

Yeah, I thought that was an interesting bit from the Tribune to get several designers together but then I quickly realized that, much like economists, you get 4 in a room together and somehow wind up with 5 strong opinions.

posted by Ufez Jones at 01:11 PM on December 17, 2015

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