Ever heard of SlamBall? We hadn’t either, until we found out about the crazy sport’s appearance on One Tree Hill starting tonight (The CW, 9 p.m ET). It’s a full-contact basketball-hockey-football hybrid, with TRAMPOLINES. Seriously, trampolines. As SlamBall website user djdchamp93 so eloquently puts it, “this is wat nba shud look lyk.”
In terms of made-up sports, we were feeling like SlamBall ranked up there with Quidditch, so we asked James Lafferty — who plays Nathan, the promising NBA prospect/high school hoops star-turned-paralyzed alcoholic-turned-less-promising NBA prospect/high school hoops coach — to kindly explain what, exactly, it entails. “[Slamball] is like the closest thing to flying you can do without jumping out of an airplane or being strapped to a harness and swung around,” he says. “It’s set on a spring-loaded wood floor with a basketball hoop on each end. It’s the size of a normal basketball court. Each basket is at ten feet, and under each hoop there is an area that goes from courtside to courtside that has four trampolines. The entire court is surrounded by Plexiglass.”
If you want to play (or watch), you need to learn the lingo: “‘Juice the tramps’ is basically manipulating the trampoline to get the highest jump that you possibly can,” Lafferty says, and “‘Popcorn’ is when a defensive player jumps [on the trampoline] at the same time or right before you’re trying to shoot and takes your jump away.”
OTH executive producer Mike Tollin is a partner in SlamBall, which airs Sundays on Versus through Oct. 26. Aha, so that‘s how they came up with the idea. But, as Lafferty argues, it’s actually not toounbelievable for Nathan to play. “It fit right into the storyline ofNathan trying to make his way back to the NBA,” he says. “SlamBallseems like a way to showcase his athletic abilities and [prove] he ishealthy enough to play again.”
If you’re a OTH fan, you appreciate his effort to explainthe logic, but you know it’s unnecessary: This insane-soundingspectacle fits right in with the show’s nonstop, out-of-left-fielddrama ever since it wisely skipped over the Tree Hill High gang’scollege years and inserted them straight into their early twenties. Aspoiler from last week’s show for the uninitiated: a crazy nannyattempts to kidnap a small child for the second time whileholding his grandfather, who’s in need of a heart transplant, hostagein a fake hospital bed. She chases the small child through a cornfieldand dies via a magnificent axe/gun combo assault. Follow? “The NannyCarrie storyline has got to be up there — definitely in the topthree,” Lafferty admits. “That one was pretty good.”
How about you, PopWatchers? What are some of your favorite OTH storylines? Check out these videos and let us know how you think SlamBall will rate on the OTH drama-meter.