One Tree Hill's James Lafferty introduces us to the sport of SlamBall

Jameslafferty_lEver 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."

addCredit(“Andrew Eccles”)

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. 

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  • BrandonP

    One of the best storylines in the entire series is going on now. Brooke’s personal journey through getting beaten physically and emotionally is the stuff Emmy nominations are made of. Too bad Sophia Bush’s name will likely never be read off of the elusive envelope.

  • Anne

    Slamball has been around longer than most people probably realize. It used to be on Spike and I loved watching it because of its similarity to a video game. I just got into One Tree Hill so I’ve been watching the seasons on DVD and the current season at the same time. I have to say even though it’s a pretty random show, I really enjoy it. It’s very entertaining.

  • sylvia

    This show is completely nonsensical, unrealistic, and ridiculous. Yet I love every minute of it. I mean, c’mon. A show that has a school shoot out, crazy stalkers, pregnancy scares, drug and alcohol problems, rampant murderers, and dangerous gamblers within one insy weensy little town, how can you NOT be entertained??

  • Trisha Lynn

    Slamball co-creator Mason Gordon’s been around the show biz tip for a while as a producer and general behind-the-scenes guy, I think. When Slamball did its first games back in the early 2000’s, I knew Gordon’s sister, and she said that they had stars come out and watch the film shoots and games all the time. I never got to go, though…

  • Wojo

    Yeah, I also remember watching Slamball on Spike. It used to be on like around 10 pm. It was completely ridiculous and mindless fun. One time some guy broke his ankle, and it was horrific. I was surprised they kept showing the replay though I guess I shouldn’t be since it was Spike.

  • julie

    I have watched this show since the first season. Dan is my fave even though I think he is the devil, in that he wont ever die. I still miss Keith and last night I wondered how dan is just walking around when he needed a heart transplant months ago. Best quote last night, when Dan called his ex wife “Granny Deb” in front of her 20 something boyfriend. The humor mixed with soap opera drama is what makes this show.

  • Sara

    I’ve watched OTH since season one and to this day I’m still rooting for the exact same thing…Lucas and Peyton! I agree with other posters that this show is ridiculous, outlandish and comPLETEly unrealistic yet freakin’ fantastic! At it’s core it’s really about friends who genuinely love each other and would do anything for them.
    And that ain’t all bad. I do enjoy how m’town of Omaha has gotten love from the show the past couple weeks. ;0)

  • Catherine

    And while we’re on the subject of “One Tree Hill,” which is my favorite show at the moment, *why doesn’t* EW do a TV watch about it???? Come on!

  • surfergirl577

    I’ve been wondering the same thing about a tv watch for OTH. It’s the only show I love that’s not getting one on EW.

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