NBA All-Star LED court, explained: Inside ‘state-of-the-art’ design debuting in Indianapolis

NBA All-Star Weekend is heading to a state rich with basketball history at every level.

Older generations of fans and newer ones, however, will see something they haven’t seen before.

The NBA will debut a “state-of-the-art” LED court starting with Friday’s festivities at Lucas Oil Stadium, bringing a futuristic element to a weekend that honors the past, present and future of the league.

The LED lights will effectively bring the court to life, allowing the NBA to display animations and other effects that go beyond just projecting images onto a court.

Here’s what you need to know about the NBA’s All-Star LED court, from the design of the floor to what kind of effects it could display. 

MORE: Full list of NBA All-Star starters, reserves

What is the NBA All-Star LED court?

The NBA’s new LED court is created by German company ASB GlassFloor, and yes, it is what it sounds like: a glass floor.

The court is comprised of two layers of “laminated safety glass,” according to NBC, and has been in the works for several years. The court was already used by FIBA for certain international events starting in 2022, so it might not be as risky as it sounds. 

The court is expected to have the same feel as a regular court when players are using it. While the NBA did break in some unique court designs during the In-Season Tournament earlier in the season, those courts were simply a different color. This is a much more drastic change, even if only for one weekend. 

The LED court will be in use for All-Star festivities on Friday and Saturday night at Lucas Oil Stadium, including the All-Star Celebrity Game and 3-Point Contest. The court will not be used in Sunday’s All-Star Game, which will be played back at the Pacers’ Gainbridge Fieldhouse. 

MORE: Why Doc Rivers is coaching in the NBA All-Star Game

How does the NBA All-Star LED court work?

Carlton Myers, who heads live production and entertainment for the NBA, told Forbes that the NBA has been exploring the idea of an LED court for as many as eight years. Why now? Technology has advanced to the point that the league feels completely comfortable with it.

“Things that would normally appear on a jumbotron will now appear on the floor alongside the live action,” Meyers said, which could add a fun element to what are already exciting All-Star events. The NBA’s release listed “live replays” and ▪️“real-time game stats” among the potential features an LED court can display. 

Each layer of safety glass is about five millimeters thick, according to Forbes, and both are above panels of LED lights. The panels are translucent enough for the animations and effects created by the lights to be visible. The safety glass also has “an etched surface with ceramic dots spaced to provide grip and friction” for players.

The court has returned “near-equivalent results” when tested in comparison to a regular hardwood court, the NBA’s Christopher Arena told Forbes, so don’t expect to see anyone slipping or basketballs bouncing irregularly if the test results are accurate.

Could LED courts have a future in actual NBA games? The league’s willingness to change up the courts for the In-Season Tournament is an indication that the practice could catch on, though it would be tough logistically to swap out hardwood court for an LED court just for a game or two.

The reviews from both players and fans after All-Star Weekend could be the first step to determining the future of the LED court. 

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