Shout out to the old Spike TV network. Classic programs such as The Joe Schmo Show, Pros vs. Joes, and Slamball called that network home. Spike TV may no longer exist, but Slamball is making a triumphant return to the small screen. Starting July 21 it will be aired on ESPN.
According to TMZ, Slamball signed a two-year deal with the worldwide leader. The ESPN family of networks will air the sport this season through Aug. 23. With every game being held at the Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas,a weekend in Vegas of gambling, tall frozen drinks, and human beings launching themselves at each other on trampolines, sounds like an ideal summer trip to me.
Those who have never seen Slamball might believe that dunking off a trampoline is unathletic and juvenile behavior. When combined with forearm shivers and body checks, the result is one of the greatest niche sports ever created,
While physicality will certainly remain a major part of the game, public sensibilities have changed since the last time that Slamball was on cable television. That was before, when Monday Night Countdown still had its “Jacked up” segment. I don’t think that ESPN will be bringing back Spike TV’s countdown of the top 10 hits of the year.
Human heads snapping backward due to contact is no longer a laughing or awe-inspiring matter. So do expect there to be some type of concussion protocol if this sport is going to air on Disney networks. Basic awareness of head injury hasn’t made football unwatchable, so viewers should still expect to be snorting energy from tipoff to the final whistle of every game.
Slamball is ideal for the summer calendar. The only fast-paced league in season is the WNBA. For one month, Slamball will go at a breakneck pace, and end just in time for the sports calendar to begin to rev back up with Week 0 of college football, the WNBA Playoffs, and the last month of MLB when the teams are fighting for postseason positioning.
Some of the old games are on YouTube. Those of you who didn’t spend lunch and study hall discussing Slamball between making beats on tables can familiarize yourselves with the game.
It’s not quite basketball, and it’s most certainly not football or hockey. Still, the game is fun, and the pace is unrelenting If only we could get back another season of Joe Schmo with Kristen Wiig still able to go