When will SlamBall make it to France? We speak to Owl Black SlamBall Dijon
In the USA, they have this:
The principle is simple: a basketball court covered with trampolines, and a set of rules somewhere between those of basketball and American football.
In France, if you type SlamBall France into Google, this is what you get:
Yippee! It seems we are right up there with the Yanks when it comes to embracing new trends.
Disappointingly, SlamBall does not exist in France…
Instead, we have this:
The best we have managed so far is this:
Let’s be honest: Dunk Trampo, as it is known, is a cheap version of SlamBall.
There are only two clubs trying to develop SlamBall in France:
– one in Dijon: Owl Black SlamBall Dijon
– and one in Aix-Marseille: Pays D’Aix-Marseille SlamBall Association, PAMSA13
… but for the time being it is impossible to play the sport or to use the name, which was registered as a trademark by its creator, Mason Gordon, in 2002.
Yes, SlamBall has existed for 13 years and has already won over the American public, but it is only just arriving on our shores…
I contacted Owl Black SlamBall Dijon, a club that is working to launch the first French SlamBall Federation:
SlamBall is a sport and a trademark, yet you’ve set up a club called “Owl Black SlamBall Dijon”. Are you allowed to do that?
Yes, absolutely. The people in charge of SlamBall didn’t stand in our way. In fact, they were very enthusiastic about the idea of France trying to develop SlamBall.
How exactly do you play? Do you use the SlamBall rules, or do you just play basketball with trampolines under the baskets?
There are no suitable courts. The training we do consists of pure basketball sessions, trampolining sessions, and “Dunk Trampo” sessions, where we focus on slam dunks using a trampoline.
Do you organise tournaments between Dijon and Aix-Marseille?
No, not yet, but, with the managers of PAMSA13, Rémy Didier and Daniel Karpati, we are thinking about staging one or more friendly matches, as our friends in the south are, like us, really enthusiastic about getting SlamBall going in France.
Imagine the mayor of Dijon were to create a budget especially for SlamBall: what other difficulties would you face to really get a proper club going?
To be honest, the budget problem is the main hindrance for us. If that were to be resolved, there wouldn’t be any other big difficulties… communication, maybe? More and more people know about SlamBall.
Are you in contact with the US SlamBall federation? What do they have to say about it all?
Yes! Our first objective was to contact Mason Gordon, SlamBall’s creator, to talk to him about our ambitions and our development project.
He considers us as ambassadors for SlamBall in France, and he supports us every day in taking our project forward (he knows from experience that it’s not an easy task).
Do you have a rough idea of when the first real SlamBall court could be created in France? Will you be allowed to call it SlamBall?
SlamBall is rights-restricted, and you have to pay for those rights. Once we have paid for the rights, we are fully entitled to call it SlamBall. We are also receiving development and communication assistance to help us buy a SlamBall court and accelerate the sport’s growth. But no, unfortunately, I can’t give you a date at this stage…
Is it a risky sport? Have there been any serious accidents? Could such considerations delay SlamBall’s arrival in France?
It’s like all other contact sports. If you are properly prepared and know the rules, there is very little risk of injury… The players are well protected, too, with padded helmets, elbow pads, knee pads, cups, special shoes. All the players are aware that they are not playing golf (although we have nothing against golf!) and that they could hurt themselves. It’s what is known as “accepted risk”.
How often do you train?
Once a week. And then everyone does their own physical training as they see fit (jogging, weights, etc.).
Do you think that you will be the first to open a SlamBall court in France?
We have created the French SlamBall Federation and we are now operating under that name. That gives us recognition and makes us the ambassadors of SlamBall in France, so if an official court were to open in France, it wouldn’t happen without us – that’s for sure.