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 twenty feet.

                      Slam Ball Court

     -  |     ______                   ______     |
     |  |    |      |        |        |      |    |
     |  |    |______|        |        |______|    |  
     |  |  ____    ____      |      ____    ____  |  
     |  | |    |/\|    |     |     |    |/\|    | |
   (50')|O|    |  |    |    (X)    |    |  |    |O|
     |  | |____|\/|____|     |     |____|\/|____| |
     |  |     ______         |         ______     |
     |  |    |      |        |        |      |    |
     |  |    |______|        |        |______|    |  
     -  |_________________________________________|
       |___| - "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 globetrotters.

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 play.

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.

The Game

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.

Ball handling

  • 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)

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.