SlamBall, The Delinquent Cousin Of The NBA, Is Making A Return
— 5 April 2023

SlamBall, The Delinquent Cousin Of The NBA, Is Making A Return

— 5 April 2023

In Spike Lee’s 1998 film, He Got Game, Jesus Shuttleworth (played by Ray Allen) famously says that “basketball is like poetry in motion.” A short year later, Mason Gordon would invent SlamBall, a game that aimed to amplify the motion and remove all semblance of poetry.

Despite the insane history of injuries that ended its original run, SlamBall is bouncing back triumphantly more than 20 years later. The game that once took James Naismith’s game of basketball and dared to ask the question “what if it had trampolines and tackling?” will enjoy its time in the sun once again.

SlamBall takes childhood backyard shenanigans to the big leagues. In four, five-minute quarters, four players on each team don a set of padding and helmets to play basketball 18 feet in the air. On a court made up of four rectangular trampolines, the game allows the blocks and collisions of American football. It truly is as dumb as it sounds.

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SlamBall is set to relaunch with a six-week season taking place in Las Vegas this July. This will be followed by another week of playoffs, as well as subsequent domestic and international exhibitions..

“It’s rare to have the opportunity to be in on the ground floor of a ‘new’ sports league with millions of fans already roaring their support from the virtual stadiums of social media,” said lead investor Roger Ehrenberg.

“We believe the quick format, memorable moments and spectacular gameplay SlamBall makes possible is tailor-made for today’s fans. We’re going to create an unforgettable experience for both old and new fans that showcases the speed, athleticism, and excitement of SlamBall.”

The sport was able to secure a US$11 million (AU$16.3 million) Series A round fronted by Roger Ehrenberg’s IA Sports Ventures and Eberg Capital and supported by strategic investors across sports, gaming, entertainment, and media.

One notable investor is the NBA’s Blake Griffin, the man who famously jumped over a KIA in the 2011 Slam Dunk Contest. We can only imagine what his contributions to the sport of SlamBall would’ve been in another timeline.

While the original SlamBall aired on The National Network (later rebranded as Spike TV), the distribution rights for SlamBall 2.0 are currently being negotiated. We do know, however, that we’re getting a documentary series about the league from Mike Tollin’s MSM. Along with executive producing the Netflix docuseries The Last Dance, Tollin is notably the co-founder of the original iteration of SlamBall with CEO Mason Gordon.

Gordon was working for Tollin at the time when the former approached the latter to fund his bizarre creation. The pair first launched the professional league out of a warehouse with old gymnastics equipment and a fairly casual ruleset in 2002. It aired for two seasons before a disagreement between Gordon and the network partner would ultimately lead to the league being disbanded following the 2003 season. There was another attempt at a SlamBall revival in 2008, but it only stuck around for one season. Is the third time lucky?

Keep an eye out for key SlamBall updates here.

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