Remembering Slamball - The Concorde Of The Sporting World

Remembering Slamball - The Concorde Of The Sporting World
Gary Reilly
By Gary Reilly
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The Concorde of the sporting world. Tell us we're being dramatic all you want but we're having none of it. Slamball was glorious. You may be a football fan, a rugger bugger, a GAA-head, it doesn't matter. Slamball transcended any notion of code, it didn't care that you had no intention of actually playing sport. Fan of combat sport? We've got you covered. Gymnastics? Yes that too.

Given that you've taken the time out of your day to visit this shrine to teams such as the Rumble and the Bouncers, you probably remember Slamball with the same warm fuzzy feeling that we do. However, just in case you're a complete Slamball virgin, here's the official explanation.

So basketball with trampolines and ice hockey level physicality.

It cast its incandescent flame over our lives for too short a time but it's spirit lives on in the minds of twenty somethings everywhere who remember weekend mornings glued to Trouble (that was a TV channel back in the day) with a bowl of cereal in hand watching these American chaps fly through the air and wondering how it was humanly possible that every single bone on the court was not broken.

According to a Guardian article before the sport was introduced to UK television in the early 2000s:

It could be the new Korfball. Or the new Dodgeball. Or the nearest thing yet to Rollerball. Or just a load of balls.

Is it any wonder we loved it.


And just to prove how great Slamball was, this guy was the championship winning coach during the inaugural season in 2002.


No not Samuel L. Jackson. The real Coach Ken Carter ended up becoming a Slamball coach after he was finished inspiring all those inner-city hoodlums. He coached the all conquering Rumble to a win over the Diablos in a game that, in some circles, is up there with Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals (okay, we don't actually remember the particular game but it was almost certainly a cracker, how could it not be?)


In reality though, it didn't matter who won. Everyone was cheering for carnage. You'd sit there glued to the TV in amazement at these titans of men, risking life and limb for what must have been peanuts. In terms of attendance, there was a couple of hundred people there and even watching from home, you had this feeling that this was all some secret world that only a chosen few could understand.

However, perhaps it wasn't quite as underground as we thought. We were chuffed to find that this wonderful highlights video has well over 5 million views on YouTube.

In reality, this is the hipster paradigm. It was cool to a chosen few while it was around and it fell away without a drop in quality but without ever gaining mainstream appeal. Therefore it forever lives on in this idealised mindset.

Although we're speaking of Slamball as if it's dead, it's actually not. It disappeared from these shores after it's second season in 2003. It was resurrected on US television for a little while but it never hit the same heights and it then sneaked off to become even more under-appreciated.

You can follow an official Facebook and Twitter account but we wouldn't sully the memory with this cheap imitation. Slamball will always evoke memories of a cozy Saturday morning, slurping the sugary milk at the bottom of the bowl and watching something that was just so gloriously dangerous it should never have been allowed to be broadcast before the watershed.

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