Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Return of the King: 5 Reasons Why We Should Be Watching Slamball

With the beginning of the holiday season, many NBA fans will soon find their holidays devoid of the normal slate of exciting early season NBA match-ups.  It seems that all hope for an NBA season has been lost, as Billy Hunter and David Stern remain locked in a battle of incompetence and egotism.  But what if I told you we could not only be watching basketball, but basketball with full contact (such as hand checking), artificially enhanced vertical leaps and the unconditional endorsement of Spike TV?  Although such a vision would seem delusional, in fact this version of basketball has been in existence since 2002 and features 6 teams that actually play (instead of argue over revenue sharing while wearing "Basketball Never Stops" t-shirts).  However, Slamball play has been suspended indefinitely in the US due to lack of funding.  Here are the top 5 reasons why Slamball should start tomorrow.

1) The NBA is locked out.  Not only that, it's reached the "nuclear winter" stage of negotiations, the bizzaro Shangri La of labor negotiators everywhere.  The void left by this lockout represents Slamball's best (and last?) chance at gaining relevance in the modern mainstream sports industry, becoming more Dexter Douglas and less Freakazoid.

2) There are only 8 players on the court at any time.  One very serious complaint about the NBA has been the gradual loss of space on the basketball court, as players get bigger and more athletic there is simply less room to maneuver.  Reducing the number of players in the game opens up space for good fundamental play, and face melting dunks performed by athletes wearing full padding on trampolines.

3) Dunks count for 3 points.  In a league where not everyone is capable of throwing it down perhaps this rule would seem unfair, but on a court with 4 trampolines, why not incentivize show stopping dunks on every trip down the floor?

4) It's full contact.  Is there anything more frustrating than watching an enforcement of the continuation rule in the NBA?  (Maybe listening to Cris Collinsworth do his best "competent commentator" impression.  Is English even his first language?)  What if, the next time a whistle blows and Derrick Rose takes three more steps down the lane for a dunk, he gets laid out by a Zach Randolph punchDemarcus Cousins would get much more playing time, that's for sure.

5) It's huge in Italy.  Since debuting there in 2007, Slamball has made a distinct impression on Italians, gaining notoriety across southern Europe (ok, maybe just in Italy).  By bringing Slamball back to the States its creators will have continued the USA's grand tradition of importing Italian excellenceFiat, Lavazza, and now Slamball.

Joe Silvestro is a regular contributor to Sports Casual, check back every Funday Friday for his witticisms concerning the Wide World of Sports.  Email him at

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