Obscure Sports Weekly: SlamBall

Most sports require a mixture of speed and strength to achieve success. Mason Gordon went above and beyond these requirements when he created SlamBall, a form of basketball that incorporates aspects of football and gymnastics.

Gordon wanted to take the unrealistic abilities of athletes in video games, such as extreme jumping and hitting capabilities, and make them attainable for real life athletes. Gordon brought his idea to producer Mike Tollin, who after much persuasion from Gordon, became a supporter of the game.

The SlamBall court resembles a basketball court in the sense that it has a hoop at each end. However, this court has four in-ground trampolines assembled at the base of each hoop and a padded springboard running in between them. An 8-foot Plexiglass wall, much like the enclosure of a hockey rink, surrounds the entire court.

A SlamBall team is composed of an eight or nine man roster. Four players from each team are allowed on the court at any given time. Substitutions can be made as frequently as necessary and are made during the play of the game as in hockey. The game has three positions: handler, gunner and stopper. The handler works much like a basketball point guard in the sense that he is mainly in control of the ball and offensive plays. The gunner’s main focus is to attack the basket and score. The stopper is the main defensive player who uses his body to block the other team’s gunner. You can see some Slamball highlights here.

Throughout the game’s history, eight professional United States teams were formed: Rumble, Mob, Riders, Slashers, Diablos, Bouncers, Steal and Bandits. Two of the teams, Riders and Diablos, disbanded after the 2003 season, and Steal changed its name to Maulers. All of these teams are based in Los Angeles, California and compete against each other in regular season and post-season games. Ken Carter, famously known as Coach Carter, was the coach of Rumble for all three seasons. Under his direction, Rumble finished first in all three regular seasons, won the championship in 2002, made the semi-finals in 2003 and made the finals in 2008.

Photo courtesy of YouTube.

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