SlamBall, the fast-paced, gravity-defying sport that combines elements of basketball, football, hockey and trampolines, opens its relaunch season on Friday at 7 p.m. ET (4 p.m. PT) at Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas, and live in front on a national audience on ESPN.
To get fans, media and other interested parties ready, here are 10 Things to Know about the upcoming four-week dash to the playoffs, culminating in the semifinals on August 15 and finals on August 17.
- For Mason Gordon, SlamBall never went away. Since it last appeared in the U.S. 15 years ago, SlamBall’s creator and CEO has showcased his brainchild around the world and plotted its American return. Now American audiences a second chance to fall in love with one of the most unique and enthralling sports ever conceived. The sixth season of SlamBall promises to be bigger, better and more boisterous than it ever was. “The game has really advanced,” said Gordon. “It’s more sophisticated strategically, and that goes hand-in-hand with the advanced technical level of the athletes. It’s clear that this is the best talent we have had in the sport’s history. They have a great combination of skill, size, and professionalism. Everybody has already bought into the concept and the opportunity here. So, we are starting from a very, very good place.”
- Three legacy teams – the Mob, Rumble and Slashers – are joined by five newcomers: the Buzzsaw, Gryphons, Lava, Ozone and Wrath. Not surprisingly, the first game of the sixth season of SlamBall pits rivals the Mob and Rumble against each other. Those teams have combined to win three of the five Slam Ball championships – Rumble (2002) and Mob (2012, 2016).
- Each squad is helmed by a former SlamBall player or coach, including Ken Carter, the inspiration for the acclaimed film Coach Carter, who is back with the Rumble, the team that he led to a championship in the initial 2002 SlamBall campaign. Having all that institutional knowledge has accelerated the development of the league’s players. “They’ve acquired all the tools through training camp it took us years to get when we played,” said Jelani Janisse, a former SlamBall MVP and current Gryphons head coach. “With all the training and experience we’ve given them, they’re so far beyond where we were when we first started playing this sport. They’re going to be awesome.”
- Four current players are the sons of former SlamBall stars, including Bryan Ball-Anderson, who he selected with the seventh overall pick in the draft bis father, Trevor Anderson, head coach of the Ozone. The other three legacy SlamBall players are brothers Dionte Byrd (Mob gunner) and Donavin Byrd (Ozone gunner), whose father was George Byrd, and Jamaal Barnes Jr. (Buzzsaw gunner), whose dad was Jamaal Barnes Sr.
- Of the 56 players on opening rosters, 66% have basketball backgrounds, while 23% played football, and 11% were on track and field squads. The average age of the players is 26.9 years with an average height of 6-4 and weight of 210 pounds. The tallest and heaviest SlamBall player is the Ozone’s 6’9”, 265-pound Vincent “Lumberjack” Boumann (Newberg, OR), a former Western Oregon basketball player, while conversely the Slashers’ Tony Crosby II, a former track star at Grand Canyon University and international slam dunk champion (Inglewood, CA), stands at 5’6”.
- The tallest team is the Rumble at an average of 6’6, while the heaviest is the Wrath, averaging 225 pounds. James Willis’s Wrath is the only team with every player at least 200 pounds.
- SlamBall players hail from 23 states, with California (8), Ohio (5) and Florida (4) leading the way.
- Players were assigned to teams via a draft held last month. With the first overall pick, the Lava selected former Florida A&M basketball standout Bryce Morange (Tampa, FL), who SlamBall creator and CEO Mason Gordon said, “might be the most complete player we’ve seen in the sport.” With the seventh pick in Round 1, Ozone head coach and SlamBall legend Trevor Anderson called the name of his son, Bryan Bell-Anderson (Sarasota, FL), who previously played defensive back at Columbia University.
- After this weekend’s Friday-Saturday-Sunday format, the following three weeks will feature a double session on Thursday and single sessions on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
- SlamBall recently announced an exclusive, two-year national broadcast partnership with ESPN for the 2023 and 2024 seasons. ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN+ will combine to air more than 30 hours of live SlamBall programming across five weekends.
SlamBall is a one-of-a-kind sports and entertainment property with a rich history of success in the United States and in markets around the world. After being dormant in the United States for 15 years, SlamBall returns for its sixth season this summer in Las Vegas. SlamBall is an exhilarating and action-packed sport that seamlessly merges basketball, football, hockey, and acrobatics into one thrilling experience, highlighted by gravity-defying trampoline-assisted dunks and dynamic, video-game-like plays. From its earlier iterations, SlamBall already has an enormous global audience across all major digital platforms. It has a large and passionate fanbase that is clamoring for the sport’s comeback. The hashtag #BringBackSlamBall has garnered more than 500 million views on social media. For additional information, visit https://slamballleague.com/.