This whole pursuit to reacquaint Robert Indiana with his birthplace (and vice versa) has always been about making connections. His 1977 masterpiece of the Milwaukee Bucks’ MECCA floor (which I wrote about in May 2016) has been one of the more interesting ones.
Growing up in New Castle, Indiana, basketball became a huge part of my life. It’s rare to move on into adulthood not being able to swish a free throw or nail a three-pointer from the corner.
Reading more about the MECCA floor on my flight home from Vinalhaven, I reached out to the men who owned the floor finding it for sale on a reclaimed wood site. That connection to Ben Koller has stayed active and we’re always looking for ways to reconnect with “Bob” and incorporate him into everything we’re doing for his legacy. Although he doesn’t respond, he’s aware of the wheels turning and that’s important to me.
Enter my childhood neighbor who could also sink free throws, Adam Hamby. Now living in southern Indiana, he has combined his hobby of woodworking (learned from his father, Ron) and his love of basketball to recreate basketball floors. Starting in 1995 by creating the New Castle Fieldhouse as they were laying the new parquet floor over the tartan floor, he now creates these great pieces for collectors and enthusiasts alike through his business venture, Land of Mini Basketball Courts.
Building his repertoire of works, he asked if I’d be interested in a recreation of the MECCA floor. Of course, I said yes, and now am looking for a home in the community for it. With the redevelopment of the old National Guard Armory at Grand Avenue and South 15th Street (Robert Indiana Parkway), it may very well end up there with a plaque about its history and the connection we share (don’t forget, New Castle boy, Kent Benson, also played on this floor).
Stay tuned to see where to look for this awesome piece and check out Land of Mini Basketball Courts to see if Adam can recreate your favorite court!