How many remember Slamball? If you enjoy basketball at all levels and you’re over the age of 16, I know you remember this league. How could we forget the league that failed at marketing, scarcity, or anything thats involved in business. The sport innovation seemed to lack any market appeal. This league was labeled a gimmick and carried this “caged animal” appeal. Everyone loved watching it whether it be on SpikeTV, CBS, and oh wait Cartoon Network. The problem the viewers watched preferred the TV not the stands, face it who really goes to a slamball game?
I can only imagine signing my kid up for a Slamball youth league, Mr Cooper “sign here, sign here, here’s a helmet, sign here, and no prior basketball ability is necessary.” The players probably signed more liability waivers before they touched their first contract. This game was combination of 2035 gladiator games, bad basketball, and the outfits from that bad movie….umm. whats it called… oh yea.. rollerball<-thats embarrassing.
However this game was pretty sweet to emulate.
The concept of trampolines, basketball, and 3 on 3 basketball destroyed the NBA’s and College concept at the time. I’m not saying these leagues were competing with viewers or advertisers. The games distaste for fundamentals and not being a physical specimen to excell was quite interesting. This was the ideal pipeline league for all high school athletes that failed to make the league through the 2000’s. The league should be reinstated now with the lockout, just saying. This game transformed the sport into more then shot, rebound, and alley-op. The game turned into= off the glass, 960*, double alley-op, and let me take this call,while I’m up here “Hello, T.O” type basketball. How many of us recall finding pillows, cushions, trampolines, or any item that increased our vertical jump by a measly inch or two.
Reproducing the product seemed easier than instant coffee you only needed two inputs for the output: A cushioning system and a hoop=brand new game. Yet at the age twelve majority of us forgot that though league was awful, they did have engineers create their court system. So that famous kid known for getting his knee destroyed inside a hoop on a trampoline, yeah you watched Slamball.
This game was truly ahead of its time. That 1990’s flick of Woody Harrelson starring in “White Men Can’t Jump” may never have been produced if “Slamball” existed in the early nineties, than again that flicked allowed Woody Harrelson’s to have an acting career.
Great things arrived with this game, but the great things didn’t involve any coach, player, or matchup. The league allowed kids to use their imaginations, aspire to forget the rules of the sport and gravity. The marketing failed to offer products, endorse athletes, or even build-up a rival. How many Slamball Classic’s did we really ever witness? Does Kenny Anderson’s Hombres vs. the Slashers register as ESPN classic? On a positive note this league surpassed the NFL rival the XFL lasting 4 bewildering seasons. The only highlight that proves worthy is the 1080 dunk performed during their supposed “slam-dunk” contest (wasn’t everyday one?). The vision was created but the business plan was not. So 2nhalfsteps would like to conclude this league as basketball’s greatest FAILure as a professional league.