With the resurgence of the XFL and the ascendency of the Pro Tour of Pickleball, it was only a matter of time before a sports cult classic returned to the court and canvas.
Following a 20-plus-year absence, the trampolines, big dunks and bigger hits are back as SlamBall returned to action in late July.
The eight teams played anywhere from nine to 16 regular-season games over the past four weeks, and the SlamBall playoffs are officially set. There are two-game quarterfinals Tuesday (11 p.m. ET, ESPN2/ESPN App) followed by a slam dunk contest, and the semifinals are on Thursday (11 p.m. ESPN2/ESPN App). The SlamBall championship game will follow the two semifinal matchups, with all games taking place at Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas.
Now that the playoff matchups are set, it's time to look back at the best moments of the regular season and key in on what to expect this week from the on-court action.
Need to catch up on all the details of the refurbished league? Our preseason FAQ has you covered here.
What are the playoff matchups and who's the favorite?
The SlamBall regular season began with eight teams making up the field. The playoffs, known at The Slamball Series 6, feature six teams with the top two teams in the league, MOB and Buzzsaw, getting byes into Thursday's semifinals.
MOB was the team to beat during the regular season, finishing 16-0 with three wins over Buzzsaw. The lowest margin of victory for MOB was 13 -- which happened three times during the season -- so it's hard to imagine any other team being the favorite.
The MOB just finished the regular season 16-0.— SlamBall (@SlamBall) August 13, 2023
40 point and 38 point wins tonight. Average 28.25 margin of victory on the SEASON.
Insanity. Absolute domination. pic.twitter.com/6KV2qhuL1I
Buzzsaw finished 9-6 on the season and will play the winner of No. 3 seed Slashers and No. 6 seed Gryphons. The Slashers were the only other team to finish above .500 this season (7-6).
On the other side of the bracket, the No. 4 Wrath will face No. 5-seeded Lava for a chance to try to upset MOB on Thursday.
An eight-participant Slam Dunk Contest will take place after Tuesday's quarterfinal games.
Ozone and Rumble missed out on the playoffs after going 2-8 and 1-8, respectively.
How many players are on each team and where did they play before SlamBall?
The teams are allowed to have seven players on each roster at a time and four players on the court during game action. The league is made up of 56 players from 23 states with different collegiate backgrounds. Of the 56 players, 26 players played Division I basketball, while 11 played D-II and two played D-III. Six players each from the NAIA and junior colleges round out the the league roster.
Players to watch
Darius Clark, MOB, Gunner: The player on the best team with the most points is usually the one to watch, right? Clark, who ran track at Florida State and Texas A&M, led MOB with 257 points while going 77-for-100 on dunk attempts in the regular season. He also led the league in regular-season scoring.
Tony Crosby II, Slashers, Handler: If you like hits -- and it's SlamBall, so it's assumed -- then Crosby II is your guy. He led the regular season with 48 hits, doubling the next closest player's totals. He also recorded 230 points and 38 assists this season while captaining the Slashers at 5-foot-6.
Gage Smith, MOB, Stopper: It's hard to find a defensive category that Smith isn't leading. The 6-6 stopper leads SlamBall in steals (28), loose ball recovery (156), and stops (146). He also leads in faceoff percentage (100%).
Ty McGee, Wrath, Gunner: Clark may have led the league in points but McGee's points per game mark was off the charts during the regular season. He finished with 28.4 points per game over nine contests, which edges Clark by nearly eight points a game.
Tyquan Scott, Buzzsaw, Stopper: Smith may lead the league in nearly every defensive category, but MOB played 16 games this season. Scott also put up big defensive numbers, finishing second in loose ball recoveries (113) and stops (116) while ending up fourth in steals (11).
Rules and regulations
SlamBall games are 20 minutes long with four five-minute quarters. The court is 96 feet long by 64 feet wide with three identical "springbeds" on each side. Players wear protective equipment and the standard positions are handler, gunner and stopper.
For a full version of the sport's rules, including court size, gear and equipment and the bevy of nuanced foul and trampoline regulations, head to the official SlamBall site.
Best regular-season highlights
Now for the fun part. Here are some of the league's biggest regular-season highlights.
The Wrath's Greg Helt goes in-game dunk contest against the Gryphons.
Wrath's Greg Helt tosses a between-the-legs pass off the backboard to himself for a thunderous one-handed dunk.
Tired: buzzer-beaters. Wired: buzzer blocks.
Wrath's Ty McGee tries to slam in a game-tying dunk with time running out, but Nathan Karsjens blocks the attempt to win it for the Slashers.
That's one way to win a faceoff.
Jordan Jones calls game with this incredible windmill dunk and sticks his arm in the rim.
Specs and a flex:
Paxton Henry soars through the air and jams on a defender for a huge dunk.
Other reasons to be excited
It was announced on Monday that five-time NFL Pro Bowl running back Marshawn Lynch would be in the announcing booth for all six Series 6 playoff games.
"Marshawn Lynch stands out as one of the sports world's most distinctive personalities, making him a perfect addition to the SlamBall broadcast booth," SlamBall co-founder Mason Gordon said.
Lynch couldn't contain his excitement to be part of the team.