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Nets confirm new, grey court ... another Sean Marks production

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Well, Zac Cullen was right. The long-time Brooklyn Brigade member —and newly minted New York City cop— thought he spotted a new, grey court in NBA2K ... and he was right. A day after we reported on the possibility in our Off-Season Report, it was confirmed.

The Nets revealed the court on Monday, with a series of tweets, a video and a leak to Zach Lowe. In fact, Lowe revealed that like so much of the Nets summer, it was a Sean Marks production!

It started here...

The Nets explained the various design aspects in a series of interconnected tweets...

Lowe, noting that the Nets previous design had been voted one of the league’s best, reported that the team, and particularly Marks, wanted something different ... and new.

Marks wanted change, to put his artistic imprint on the franchise he has helped reinvent, and he had a radical idea: a gray floor meant to evoke blacktop courts, the streets of Brooklyn, and the borough’s “industrial vibe,” he says. Gray has been on the fringes of the team’s Brooklyn-era palette, including on the alternate Brooklyn Dodgers-themed uniforms they wore in past seasons.

Everything Marks and the Nets’ creative team toyed with from there centered around gray. It was a risk -- an unknown. The NBA says it has never had an all-gray court, though a few teams -- the New Orleans Pelicans, Denver Nuggets, Cleveland Cavaliers, Milwaukee Bucks, and others -- have shaded enlarged logos and landscapes into sections of their floors. Years ago, one team proposed a black floor designed to recall darker asphalt courts. The league rejected it, arguing it would not play well on television.

The Nets anticipated there might be some pushback from the league, but the NBA liked the design. The next issue was making the design telegenic... “dark enough to come across as gray on television, but not so dark as to muck up the visual experience,” Lowe noted.

The first stain proved too light during a test broadcast on Aug. 13, team officials say. Both the league and the team agreed that the manufacturer (Connor Sports) and painters (Ohio Flooring Company) should darken the stain. Time was getting tight. The final version arrived Wednesday.

The Nets provided ESPN with a tour of the new court the next day. It looks good -- and gray -- in person. The team is hopeful it will translate to television. The darker gray within what is traditionally the painted area makes for a nice contrast against the lighter shade that covers the bulk of the court.

Meanwhile, it got dropped into NBA2K, where Cullen spotted it and tweeted it out.

Lowe wrote that Marks had a big say in how things worked out.

Going with a two-tone gray design meant demoting the team’s signature black to the boundaries. Marks thought they would still retain enough black, especially since the theater-style lighting in the Barclays Center shrouds the seats around the court. “Barclays is dark anyway,” Marks says. “I wanted this to be brighter without using super bright colors. This is simple, to the point.”

It also allowed the Nets to transition from white lines to black, and black-on-gray is a pleasing visual.

Then, there were the details, details, details...

The subway tiles are back, and much more visible on television -- around most of the boundaries -- than they were in the old mosaic version. The Helvetica font of the “Brooklyn Nets” wordmark matches what the Metropolitan Transportation Authority uses on subway signs.

The team discussed placing the colored logos of all the subway lines that converge on Barclays Center somewhere along those boundaries -- they have used such imagery on jerseys before -- but opted for an ultraclean look on this first attempt at a gray court.

Moreover, the new court —and other design changes— would permit the Nets to again point up their popular Coogi design, a tribute to Biggie Smalls, Brooklyn native. Indeed, the new court will include special features on Coogi Nights, those games where the Nets wear their Notorious B.I.G. “Brooklyn Camo” uni’s.

The court will be a little splashier on nights when Brooklyn wears The Notorious B.I.G.-inspired city edition jerseys with multicolored trim meant to mimic the legendary rapper’s Coogi sweaters. (Those jerseys will be white this season, the team says. They were black last season.) That trim, which the teams calls “Brooklyn Camo,” will ring some of the boundaries. The team may plop their Biggie-inspired tilted-crown alternate logo onto the city edition court that will accompany the jerseys this season, though that has not been finalized, team officials say. That court will be identical to the main one -- gray-on-gray -- in every other way, the team says.

Like much of what the Nets GM has done this summer, so far so good. It is kind of amazing Marks had the time!