ESPN Film's 30 for 30 Debuts MECCA: The Floor That Made Milwaukee Famous
"MECCA: The Floor That Made Milwaukee Famous" debuts today on Grantland as part of ESPN Films' 30 For 30 Shorts series. The film looks at the history of the MECCA Arena floor that an artist painted for the Bucks in the 70's and how, more than 30 years later, a Bucks fan made the incredible decision to put his family's credit card down to protect this iconic Milwaukee symbol.
The rust-belt city of Milwaukee, WI, used public funds to commission an eccentric, openly-gay artist Robert Indiana to paint the Bucks basketball floor in the 1970's. But after the Bucks moved across the street to the newly constructed Bradley Center, the MECCA Arena floor was left in storage and all but forgotten by the general public.
In 2010, Bucks fan Andy Gorzalski discovered the floor for sale for scrap, listed online as a "gym floor." Against better judgment, Andy put his family's credit card down for $20k to protect the iconic symbol of Milwaukee and basketball history. Over the following year Andy and another fan, Ben Kohler, teamed up with Indiana to reconstruct and showcase the floor, which ultimately inspired the Milwaukee Bucks to redesign a new home court floor for their '13-14 NBA season based on the original MECCA design.
"MECCA: The Floor That Made Milwaukee Famous" is directed by Chris James Thompson, an award-winning director based in Milwaukee. He has various credits on the films: 'The Pool' (Winner-Sundance Film Festival 2007), 'Collapse' (Toronto International Film Festival 2009) and 'Suffering & Smiling' (Winner-Human Rights Watch Film Festival 2006). His first feature film 'The Jeffrey Dahmer Files' premiered in competition at the SXSW Film Festival (2012), became a New York Times Critics Pick, and was acquired by IFC for broad distribution.
ESPN Films' 30 For 30 Shorts series is artfully crafted by Blue Moon. Previous films from the series can be viewed on Grantland.com.