Kyrie Irving seemed to think he was playing on the original “MECCA” court, but after Thursday night’s game he changed his tune about the Bucks throwback floor.
To celebrate their 50th season, the Milwaukee Bucks played Thursday night’s nationally televised game against the Boston Celtics at UW-Milwaukee’s arena. The Bucks called “the MECCA” home from 1968-1988, and while it’s not an NBA-capacity arena anymore there’s no harm in a one-off game to celebrate a piece of franchise history.
Celtics guard Kyrie Irving spoke to reporters during shootaround Thursday morning, and cited safety concerns with the retro floor. He didn’t seem to realize it was a painted replica of the original floor at “the MECCA”, and not the original that say, Lew Alcindor played on.
"“I’m all about safety, so we’ll see how it is on my knees, see how it is on everyone’s bodies,” Irving said. “I know this is a pretty older court, and it looks like it’s fresh painted as well. I’m just going to do my assessment and go from there.”"
But winning and playing well cures a lot of issues, and after Irving posted a season-high 24 points with seven assists and three rebounds in Boston’s 96-89 win over the Milwaukee he changed his stance on the throwback floor.
Irving even suggested his pre-game words about the floor were blown out of proportion. Of course there’s video evidence, with direct quotes about his safety concerns and being able to tell almost instantly that it was different than he’s used to playing on.
“I know I had some thoughts about the floor before the game that I guess was turned into a big deal,” “So it was good to see their new home floor — is that their new home floor? The Mecca.”
Irving wanted to escape LeBron James and be the man elsewhere, which there’s nothing wrong with. But he better be ready for all his words to be scrutinized, even uniformed comments about the Bucks’ throwback floor that isn’t from 40-plus years ago and won’t be used again by the team.