In 1977, the City of Milwaukee took a substantial creative risk by hiring famed pop artist Robert Indiana to paint the basketball floor at the MECCA Arena.
Amid skepticism and controversy, the world of sport and art converged making the MECCA Floor the World's Largest Pop Art Painting. The MECCA Floor catapulted Milwaukee as a forward-thinking, art-conscious city and ushered in a golden age of basketball for the Milwaukee Bucks and Marquette Warriors.
Fast forward 35 years. While the MECCA era came to an untimely end in the late 1980's, when the Bucks moved to the BMO Harris Bradley Center, its legacy continued to live on in the hearts of a few Milwaukee residents. After being tipped off by super fan Andy Gorzalski that the floor was being sold on an architectural salvage site, Greg Koller of Prostar Athletic Surfaces stepped in and purchased the iconic MECCA Floor in hopes of preserving its history while building upon its legacy.
On July 4, 2011 Greg died unexpectedly yet the day before his passing, encouraged his son Benjamin Koller to move back home from Los Angeles to bring the MECCA Floor back into the spotlight. Some of his last words to Ben were:
"The MECCA isn't just a basketball floor or just a work of art. It is an idea that represents taking risks, thinking big and going after your dreams. Not only do I want to celebrate the spirit of innovation and of history, I want to use the floor to inspire new entrepreneurs, new innovators, new people who want to rewrite policy and run for office. I want it to be a symbol of: 'You can do it. Take the risk. Go after it. Leave a dent in the universe."
Following the call of duty from his father, and stern command of artist & mentor Bob Indiana, Ben moved back to Milwaukee. He enlisted the help of many remarkable Milwaukeeans to rebirth the MECCA Floor. Their efforts have made international news with articles in the New York Times, Fast Company Magazine and an ESPN 30 for 30 short film entitled: The Floor that Made Milwaukee Famous.
The final chapter for the MECCA Floor is to be exhibited on a world stage as a work of art followed by being permanently displayed intact for all to experience Her mythical story.