The NBA on Monday morning revealed the court designs for its new In-Season Tournament, which tips off on Friday when the New York Knicks visit the Milwaukee Bucks (7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN).
The courts, which will be used for group play and the knockout rounds, draw inspiration from each team’s City Edition uniform, most of which leaked last week and will be officially unveiled on Thursday.
The new NBA Cup is prominently displayed behind the team logo or wordmark at midcourt, reminiscent of the 2005-09 NBA Finals, which featured an oversized Larry O’Brien Trophy.
The courts lack any woodgrain details, are painted from edge to edge with a team-specific color and have a contrasting stripe running from lane to lane, which both include a flat version of the NBA Cup.
The stripe running down the center of the court is supposed to represent the airport runway in Las Vegas, which will host the semifinals and finals at T-Mobile Arena on Dec. 7 and 9.
While alternate courts aren’t new to the NBA, with some teams already using designs that match their Statement, City or Classic Edition sets, this is the first time a unified court program will be deployed league-wide.
In fact, this marks the first alternate court design in franchise history for five teams, including the Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers, New Orleans Pelicans and Portland Trail Blazers.
The tournament consists of group play, with all 30 teams randomly drawn into groups of five within their conference. Eight teams – six group winners and two wild cards – will then advance to the knockout rounds.
That means that each team’s design will be seen at least twice, as they’ll have two home games and two road games apiece during group play. The home team will also wear their matching City Edition uniforms.
That said, it’s worth noting that some teams will have another court design that matches their City Edition uniforms when not participating in the In-Season Tournament.