SlamBall Brings ’90s Nostalgia to Las Vegas with a Tournament This Summer

The gravity-defying sport is taking place at the Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas throughout July and August.

After a 15-year hiatus, SlamBall is officially back. The captivating sport, first played in a Los Angeles warehouse in 2000, is embarking on its fifth season in the United States at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas’s Cox Pavilion.

To put it simply, SlamBall is essentially basketball on trampolines. However, the sport also allows players to engage in physical contact in ways akin to ice hockey and football. The use of trampolines makes classic moves like layups, dunks, and alley-oops more seamless and gives room for various other aerial positions, like the Burner, a backflip in the air before landing or scoring, or the Gainer, a somersault while traveling forward.

Inspired by video games, television writer Mason Gordon created SlamBall in the ’90s, gathering street basketball players to try out the competition. The sport started to drum up buzz in the early aughts, with hundreds of potential players showing up to try out for Gordon’s SlamBall league. Thus the first SlamBall teams, the Los Angeles Rumble and the Chicago Mob, were created. The sport later went on to be featured on what is now the Paramount Network. After the craze began to die, SlamBall had its last US season in 2008; however, it has maintained popularity throughout the 2010s in China.

Now, after a draft of 56 players and weeks of intensive training, you can catch SlamBall games in Vegas from July 21 to August 13, featuring eight teams (including Rumble and Mob) with players from primarily basketball and football backgrounds. The season will consist of 90 regular games and five playoff games, with tickets on sale now starting at $30. The season will also be airing on ESPN.

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Kelsey Allen is an Associate Editor at Thrillist.