For the first time, the NBA will play on glass.
Part of All-Star weekend in Indianapolis — including the entire All-Star Saturday Night lineup — will be played on a state-of-the-art, full video LED court that will be installed at Lucas Oil Stadium, the league said Monday.
That means the skills competition, the 3-point contest, the slam dunk competition and the shooting matchup between Stephen Curry and Sabrina Ionescu will take place on the glass floor on Feb. 17, as will the celebrity game on Feb. 16. The actual All-Star Game itself on Feb. 18 will remain on a wooden court.
“It gives us a little bit more range in what we can do as far as interactive graphics, reactionary graphics that happen on the floor, changing the floor design, changing the colors, really reacting to the play that happens on the court,” said Carlton Myers, an NBA senior vice president overseeing live production and entertainment. “So, we feel really, really good about the capabilities of what this gives us, what this provides us. And we think it’s going to be really impactful, both in the building and watching on television.”
The court, developed by the German company ASB GlassFloor, has been used in events by FIBA, the sport‘s governing body. FIBA approved usage of LED glass flooring at top-tier competitions in 2022. The league didn’t reveal what the court costs, other than it’s more expensive than a wood surface.
The NBA has been considering ways to use the product for some time. Andre Iguodala of the National Basketball Players Association and Joe Dumars, the NBA’s executive vice president for basketball operations, experimented on the court last week to check how it plays and whether it’s safe.
The court itself is actually two layers of laminated safety glass, each five millimeters thick, the NBA said. The surface is opaque, and all the designs will be provided by the LED panels. Courts will have a different look for each event — and part of what’ll be displayed are real-time game stats, replays, video content and even player tracking animations.
The surface plays almost exactly the same way wood does, in terms of bounce and feel.
“What does it feel like? Does it have traction? Does it have give? Those were the questions that came to mind right away when you hear about this court,” Dumars said. “And they were answered to our satisfaction.”
The NBA experimented with court design changes earlier this season, when it used different-looking surfaces for the In-Season Tournament. Those courts were still the traditional wood, just with a different paint scheme.
AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA