Oakland unveils new 'blacktop' basketball court

All black court is believed to be first of its kind in the nation

By Dave Pemberton
The Oakland Press

ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich. (AP) - Oakland coach Greg Kampe had a vision of a home court with a "blacktop" feel for his program. Fans were given the opportunity to vote for the school's next court this past season and one of the three options was Kampe's "blacktop" court.

The fans believed in Kampe's vision, voting more than 10,000 times for it and the vision became a reality this week as Oakland University unveiled it's all black court, the first of its kind in the nation, according to The Oakland Press.

"I'm really excited about it, the uniqueness of it," said Kampe, who admitted he pushed hard for the black court during the voting process. "It's all part of branding our program. A program that wants kids that are going to want to get up and down, play a fast-paced game, get after it. You're roots are back to the blacktop where you grew up. I think anybody that ever played basketball, played on a blacktop somewhere. It's branding our program. I know that when our games are on TV, no matter where you are in the country, when you turn that game on, you're going to know it's Oakland University immediately when you see the floor. I'm really excited about that."

The response from the student athletes has been positive according to Kampe and Oakland athletic director Jeff Konya.

"I don't really talk the student athlete lingo, but sick, really cool, dope, all those kind hip, slang terms have been used in the department," Konya said. "But just in terms of people that have seen it and their initial responses, it's way more impressive in person than on video or in pictures so I think the fans when they come and experience this and some of the other enhancements and upgrades we want in the O'Rena, it's really going to be one of those catch your breath moments when you take it all in."

Kampe said the reaction on Twitter has been enormous and his mentions have been piling up since the unveiling, creating a buzz of people talking about Oakland.

"I think everybody's having a reaction to it," Kampe said. "I think there's people that don't like it and I think there's people that really like it.

"There was a basketball player in Ohio that Tweeted I want to play on that court. We're going to look into how good he is," Kampe said with a laugh.

The court also features the outline of the state of Michigan, as well as Oakland's athletic web site, Twitter handle and its branding campaign #WearTheBear. Konya believes the unique court will help Oakland push its brand and is excited about the opportunities the court provides the athletic department.

"It does provide a unique branding opportunity for our athletic department," Konya said. "I think the uniqueness of the black color and it's one that runs the entire gambit of the court. But I think the subtleties, the #WearTheBear on there, the Michigan outline of the state's on there, I think our logo is in the right colors and very prominent and a big logo that's contemporary.

"I think just the whole thing from messaging sends all the right messages in terms of what we want to be about as an athletic department. And hopefully now when people see it across the nation they can say, 'Oh yeah, that's the court at Oakland.' And then oh by the way they get exposed to the other elements that we're really trying to drive home with #WearTheBear, our branding, our logo, the fact that we're in Michigan and those kind of things."

Published: Thu, Apr 23, 2015