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NCAA Final Four Basketball Court Comes from American Indian Reservation

Posted by Deidra L. McGee, Forest Service Office of Communication in Forestry
Feb 21, 2017
Forest to Final Four Floor. Photo by Jack Gruber, USA TODAY Staff
Forest to Final Four Floor. Photo by Jack Gruber, USA TODAY Staff

It’s time for the NCAA Men’s Final Four --- and all eyes are usually glued to the action on the court.  But this year special attention is being paid to the actual court itself.

This ‘Court of Champions’ comes from the Menominee Forest and Menominee Tribal Enterprises in Wisconsin.  It all began with a maple tree which provided the amazing physical properties that are perfect for the court.  The wood is beautiful, tough and does not splinter or sliver.

The flooring is made up of about 225 panels. Floors like these may cost $100,000 and more.

After the game is over, the flooring company gives the winning team the first right of refusal on the purchase of the floor. Once purchased, the winning team will typically cut up the floor and sell pieces to their fans and alumni.

It is a long journey from a sustainable forest on an American Indian Reservation to the Superdome in New Orleans.  Along the way, the court passed through Michigan where it was assembled and Ohio where it was painted.  It has made stops in Louisville, Ky., Atlanta, Ga., Auburn, Ala, Hattiesburg, Miss., and Baton Rouge, La, as it is trucked to its final destination.  The NCAA was very protective of the floors and did not permit anyone to view them in advance of the tournaments.

The Forest Service and the College of Menominee have been collaborating for more than a decade and are recently working on this interesting marketing project that will ultimately highlight the Tribe’s sustainable forest management practices.

Menominee Tribe does more than provide wood for gym floors. It manages 235,000 acres on its reservation north of Shawano, producing about 20 million board feet of lumber annually from 14 species of wood.

The Menominee Forest has been managed in a sustainable manner for more than 100 years.

Check out this UPS infographic for more information on assembling the floor.

Category/Topic: Forestry