I was flipping channels not long ago and came across a Georgetown basketball game, and there was something about the court that caught my attention. The players were lined up for free throws, and I noticed that the free throw lane (or, as Hubie Brown says, “the painted area”) had an intricate pattern.
I got a better look at it a few minutes later, when a player committed a foul and sat in the lane to complain to the referee about the call (below left). The color seems a bit intense, perhaps because I was photographing it off of my tv, but a 2nd picture below right shows what is likely to be a more-accurate representation of the color. While I’m not an expert on African textiles, I recognized it as being in the style of a kente cloth. What I didn’t realize until I went to read up on this is: Georgetown first introduced kente patterns on their jerseys back in the 1990s during the Allen Iverson era, and this court design was the result of a contest held back in 2015 … which I guess means that I haven’t seen too many Georgetown basketball games on tv over the past couple of years!
If you’re not familiar with kente cloth, it is a type of silk and cotton fabric made of interwoven cloth strips. It originated with the Ashanti people of Ghana. Below are two examples of West African kente cloth, and you can learn more about the history and making of kente cloth here.