If you could combine every sport in existence into one ultra-sport, what would it be like? Imagine having a game that could combine the artistic ball-handling and dunking of basketball, the hard-hitting elements of football, the caged-in, wall banging elements of hockey, and the aesthetic beauty of gymnastics, all in one game.
Believe it or not, this strange and confusing yet enticing conception is about to become a reality. After a brief, but not very successful experiment a few years back, Slamball is being brought back. And this time, the game just might have what it takes to success in the United States.
So here’s the basics of the sport:
Slamball is played with four players on each team. There are three major positions in the game: the handler, the gunner, and the stopper. The handler is almost like a point guard, responsible for running the offense and setting up the plays during the game. The gunner is the team’s primary scorer, someone who could get points by any means possible. Finally, the stopper is supposed to be an all out monster on the defensive end, preventing opposing players from getting any where near the basket. The fourth player on a given team could essentially fit into any one of these three roles.
In Slamball, a dunk is worth three points, while a normal shot is worth two. This is meant to encourage players to drive towards the hoop, often resulting in violent collisions and powerful dunks. However, in the final couple of minutes, outside shots are worth three points as well; thereby enhancing the value of a clutch shooter.
Slamball is extremely physical. Players are armed with all sorts of protective gear, and it is extremely necessary. The hitting in Slamball rivals that of hockey, football, and rugby. A player without the ball can be hit at any time, and a player with the ball can be hit once they begin to dribble. In addition, the court is surrounded by a hockey-like glass wall, making for plenty of shots into the wall.
By far the most original aspect of Slamball is the trampolines that are installed into the floor of the court. In order to dunk, players can jump on any one of the four trampolines that surround their respective hoop, sending them flying for a dunk. However, defensive players may use the tramps as well, allowing them to slam their opponents while in mid-air. Oh yea, goal tending is allowed, too.
Another interesting element of the game is that players sub-in on the fly, just as they would in hockey or lacrosse. This only adds to the intense speed and excitement of the game.
All in all, Slamball has the full potential to become the next big thing in the realm of sports. With successful leagues already in place in Europe, the patrons of the game have reason to believe it will succeed. In a recent article found on New York Times’ website, it was announced that Slamball intends to have eight franchises in 2009, so this crazy game may be on the loose soon. I can’t wait.