The Phoenix Suns mascot, The Gorilla, jumping off a trampoline and dunking a basketball is a fantastic sideshow and popular halftime attraction.
He has taken the simple trampoline jam and added the over the cactus slam and has teamed up with a team of athletes to perform at halftime. This has become so common that almost all teams have a trampoline dunking halftime show. The New Orleans Hornets are the host club of the French Quarter Flyers.
A group of talented young, athletic men and women demonstrating cutting edge dunking maneuvers off of a trampoline. That is all great but what about real basketball. Well there is a sport, called Slam Ball.
The halftime shows were morphed into a competitive game of basketball with rules played on trampolines. Slam Ball is played on a court, 100 feet by 62 feet, with 8 strategically placed trampolines, four on the offensive end and 4 on the defensive end, and a 3-point line.
Players pass, dribble and use the trampolines to make dunks and block shots. Slam Ball is a full contact sport and not for the weak hearted or weak kneed. A player can be hit or “checked” at any time when he is not in possession of the ball. If the player has received the ball, he cannot be hit until he dribbles the ball; at that point he is known as “live” or “hot” and can be hit. Players cannot be hit or checked in the back; doing so results in a foul.
There are some bone shaking collisions at the rim and injuries are very common. Although Slam Ball has not really caught on as a television viewing sport is does have a following. It aired for two seasons, 2002 and 2003, on spike TV. It returned to television in 2007 with the Slam Ball Challenge on CBS, the cartoon network for the 2008 season and currently on One HD in Australia.
It has also been featured on television, the sport has been seen on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, King of Queens, Method & Red, CW’s One Tree Hill, ESPN’s SportsCenter, The Best Damn Sports Show Period and Fuel TV. In print, Slam Ball has been featured in the New York Times, Sports Illustrated, USA Today, Time Magazine and European editions of Maxim, GQ and FHM.
Now that the professional stuff is out of the way there are some remarkable people performing stupefying stunts dunking a basketball with the use of a trampoline? The High Flying Trampoline Dunk Show and the Crazy Dunkers, performing out of France, are just a few examples of video on the Internet.
The Crazy Dunkers have elevated this form of entertainment to a full-fledge 1 and half hour show combining basketball acrobatics and humor. They have appeared at the 2004 Athens Olympics and again in Beijing in 2008. Type trampoline dunking in the search of Google or Youtube and numerous video links are selected.
All these videos make this form of entertainment fun but it has very real dangers and injuries occur. Dunking while jumping off a trampoline does have associated risks. Slam Ball players and professional acrobats have received proper training and perform all stunts under the supervision of safety officers and stunt professionals.
Setting up a tramp in the backyard with a hoop and dunking looks cool but stop and think about what you are doing. Witnessing live a professional trampoline dunking show is worth the price of admission.