Overview of Slam Ball
Slam Ball is a new sport combining basketball, hockey, and gymnastics
into one indoor competition. Teams of four compete head to head in two eight
minute halves of play. Players dribble a standard basketball (colored black
and red) up and down the court and
attempt to shoot the ball into a standard basketball net. Alternatively, a
player may slam the ball, by jumping off one of the four
trampolines under the basket. Players often perform wild aerobatics, not only
for showmanship but for strategic maneuvering. This is the main attraction (and
selling point) to Slam Ball. The trampolines are built into the special
court. The court is surrounded by hockey style plexiglass that extends upward nearly
Slam Ball Court
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(50')|O| | | | (X) | | | |O|
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|___| - "tramps" (X) - center court
/\ - padded "island" O - hoops
Mason Gordon invented Slam Ball in the mid-1990s. He wanted a sport
that would combine the mentality of skateboarding and motocross. He rejected
offers from television studios who wanted to turn the sport into a
pro-wrestling-like circus or into a novelty trinket a lá
Gordon built the original Slam Ball court in a Los Angeles warehouse. There
was only half of court, with one hoop and one trampoline underneath. He
trained five original players, Michael Goldman, James Willis, Jeff Sheridan,
Sean Jackson and Dave Redmond, who are all still currently active players. Gordon
built the first full size Slam Ball court in East Los Angeles. It had two large
trampolines at either end.
As the years progressed, Gordon modified the court to include four smaller
trampolines on either end of the court, instead of one large one. This made it
easier to create four regions of separate bounce control, which enhances game
After Slam Ball took final form as a standardized team competition, Gordon
made a deal with TNN, care of Warner Brothers, care of AOL/Time Warner.
The first season aired on TNN during the summer of 2002. (Because of this
transaction of the rights to Slam Ball, I will now use 'Slam Ball' as the subject instead of Mason Gordon.)
Slam Ball created six teams and drafted players from a strenuous training
camp. The Diablos drafted Mason Gordon himself.
Players wear padding similar to that used in lacrosse and ice hockey,
except for the helmet. On their heads, players wear a small foam padded helmet
reminiscent of the leather strap-on protection of early 20th century American
football. They are encouraged to play rough, and tackling and checking are part
of the game.
Six Slam Ball Teams (and team colors)
- Rumble (green and gray)
- Slashers (maroon and blue)
- Mob (red and black)
- Diablos (blue and silver)
- Steal (black and yellow)
- Bouncers (orange and blue)
(note: The teams are not associated with their own city, as of yet. They
are autonomous bands of players located in Los Angelas.)
Four starting players
- Handler (moves the ball down the court)
- Stopper (main defensive player)
- 2x Gunner (offensive players)
Currently, Slam Ball has not published the standardized rulebook. But here are
some of the basic rules of the game:
- Three points are awarded for any basket made from beyond the three point
line (beyond the trampolines).
- Two points are awarded for any basket made within the three point line.
- Teams must shoot before the expiration of a fifteen second shot clock or
the ball is surrendered.
- Players must dribble the ball down the court.
- There is no out of bounds; the tall plexiglass walls are in play.
- If a player "ties up" another by creating a stationary scrum, the
defense will be awarded the ball.
- Goaltending is not allowed; the shooting team will be awarded the
appropriate point value.
- No other play may touch a player once he takes off from a trampoline
(results in a Face Off)
- Hitting, slashing, and holding are fouls and result in a Face Off.
- Players may not time a landing on a trampoline to squash the momentum of a
bouncing player (results in a Face Off)
- Time is stopped. The offender attempts to defend an aerial attempt by
the opposing player to score a basket. One point is awarded if successful.