Slam Ball is back! A sports league I loved growing up as a kid that puts grown adults on a basketball court that is 3/4ths trampolines to create some high-flying slams, massive blocks, and a ton of wacky plays. Growing up, the gimmick was everything to me and my friends. After years of the league being disbanded, Slam Ball has ramped back up! That led me to wonder, who would be the best Slam Ball player in OKC Thunder history?
Yes, I know I am a sicko. Why am I thinking about this on a random July day? Because, frankly, I need help. Basketball is an addiction, and this, along with coffee, is all I think about. This will be the second weekend of Slam Ball’s return, which airs on ESPN properties such as ESPN+ each weekend. With a whole new crop of teams, cast of characters, and highlight reel plays!
Which former OKC Thunder player could be the best Slam Ball star?
With bumps, tackles, outlets, oops, and slams, this sport has everything you could want from a mid-summer league to hold you over until the return of the NBA season. It couples well with the WNBA and the soon-to-get-underway FIBA World Cup to get your fix of hoops in before October.
Slam Ball takes speed, tenacity, touch, and a lot of hops. High-level athletes have been a calling card of Sam Presti’s player acquisitions for as long as he has been seated in the GM chair. That leaves a lot of possible names to dominate Slam Ball in this hypothetical world.
I have taken the liberty to boil it down to two names, something you have all been asking for in all of Thunder history, the two names that would be best at Slam Ball are Hamidou Diallo and Nate Robinson.
Both Diallo and Robinson were able to win a Slam Dunk contest in their NBA careers, Diallo was the first player in Thunder history to take home the award, and Robinson brought home the crown three (3!) times in his NBA career in the 2006, 2009, and 2010 seasons.
Nate Robinson is only 5’8, but he can jump out of the gym, plays with a chip on his shoulder, and was a star football player at Rainer Beach High School in Seattle, Washington lining up at Wide Receiver, Running Back, and Defensive Back. His ability to high-point the ball makes him an absolute threat in Slam Ball.
Robinson played four games for the OKC Thunder during the 2010-11 NBA season; he averaged three points per game during his Thunder tenure. Surprisingly enough, Robison never threw down a dunk during those four games for the Thunder. He scored eight playoff points for Oklahoma City!
Hamidou Diallo had a longer run with the Oklahoma City Thunder, the team he broke into the NBA with, lasting three seasons in Bricktown with 129 games under his belt. From there, Diallo has gone on to play for the Detroit Pistons and is currently a free agent.
As Hamidou Diallo jumped smoothly over Shaquille O’Neal, sticking his entire elbow in the rim to seal a win in the 2019 Slam Dunk Contest, it was clear Diallo is one of the best athletes to play in Bricktown.
Honorable mentions: Russell Westbrook, Terrance Ferguson, Darius Bazley, Josh Hall, Deonte Burton, and Chris Wilcox.