BOSTON (CBS) — When you turn on Thursday night’s Celtics-Bucks game, you may feel the need to adjust your television.
The Bucks, celebrating their 50th season as a franchise, will host the C’s at UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena in what they’re dubbing “The Return to The MECCA.” The throwback court has it’s been painted to look like the original floor Milwaukee played on from 1968 to 1988.
The bright and exuberant court may cause nostalgia for some and nausea for others. Most Celtics players think it’s pretty cool, but Kyrie Irving isn’t one of them.
“I’m all about safety, so we’ll see how it is on my knees, see how it is on everyone’s bodies,” Irving told reporters on Thursday morning. “I know this is a pretty old court, freshly painted as well. I’ll just do my assessment and go from there.”
Told this isn’t actually the court the Bucks used to play on 30 years ago but a newer court painted to look like the old one, Irving still said he’s worried about the well-being of himself and his teammates.
“It took me three steps to realize this is not the same NBA court I’m used to playing on,” he said. “So we’ll see what’s up.”
It will certainly take players some time to adjust to the brightness of the floor, but Irving seems to be the only Celtic concerned about the surface itself. Al Horford, whose father, Tito, was drafted by the Bucks the season after they moved from the MECCA to the Bradley Center, soaked in the nostalgia ahead of Thursday’s morning shootaround.
“It’s special. It’s very special,” Horford told reporters, via Celtics.com. “We’re celebrating the older players, the NBA, everything that they’ve done for us to put us in this position that we’re in today.”
Celtics head coach Brad Stevens agrees, excited to participate in Thursday’s throwback game.
“It’s a fun game to celebrate the history of basketball here in Milwaukee and certainly in the NBA,” said Stevens. “It’s always fun to be a part of stuff like this.”
Hopefully Irving won’t let the floor bother him too much. He sounds eager for another shot at the Bucks, an Eastern Conference rival who beat the Celtics in their home opener in Boston last Wednesday.
“TV game tonight, prime time, so the whole world is watching. You want to be part of games like this,” said Irving, who shot just 7-for-25 for 17 points against the Bucks last week. “Especially when they just beat you at home and you have a great chance to prove something.”