Friday, March 21, 2008

Celebrity Interview: Slamball Coach Brendan Kirsch

For our 200th post (has it only been that many?), we wanted to make sure we spoke to someone special. We already talk to God on a daily basis, doing his work here on earth with this site, but we figured we'd for this post we'd talk to someone fun in the world of basketball.

Enter Brendan Kirsch. Brendan is the head coach of The Mob, the 2007 championship team in Slamball. For those of you not familiar with the concept and league of "Slamball", check this out. It's everything you've ever wanted in life in one video clip:

Yowza. With such a fun, bezerk league, we knew this guy would be good conversation. Without any further ado, our interview with Brendan:
1) In 3 sentences or less, what made you want to be a part of Slamball?
A: I wanted to be part of a blue collar sport, not coaching guys that would sit out if they had a sprained pinky. And trust me. I coached guys that sat out with a sprained pinky.

2) What was the most spectacular Slamball dunk you've ever seen, if you had to pick one?
A: In a game, it was Sean Jackson's "mcnasty". It's sick. I couldn't believe he pulled it off. But the sickest dunk is at the end of the link to the teaser you have. Mason Gordon (creator) pulled off a dunk called "the revolution" in the season 2 slam dunk contest. It is RIDICULOUS. A front flip through the legs. He had practiced it, but never pulled it off until the dunk contest. We rushed the court when he did it.

3) Do you have a favorite NBA team (sorry, the fans really wanted to hear this one)?
A: Lol. The Indiana Pacers. But I'm biased because I worked for them.

4) We took a look at the Slamball team names: Bouncers, Steal, Riders, Rumble, Diablos, Slashers, Bandits...your team is named "The Mob". Admit it, you have the coolest team name.
A: Hahaha! Yeah, we do. We try to embrace that attitude on the court as well.

5) What does one look for in a good Slamball player? We have a mean set of calves.
A: It's a lot of things- heart, a willingness to put your body at tremendous risk to win, intelligence, the ability to read the floor within the different playing planes (court and air), athleticism, to be able to stay calm under pressure, but above all- fearlessness.

6) Obviously this is an incredibly high-contact sport. What is the worst injury you've seen?
A: During the final tryouts for Season two, they were shooting a documentary on the sport. The cameras were following a few players around and one of them happened to hit a tramp bed and come down improperly after a tramp jumper. (In basketball, we watch the ball all the way to the basket. In Slamball, you have to "un-learn" that and once you release the ball, look down for your landing point.) This young man was a talented kid, but he came down with one foot in the tramp and one foot on the island. (the red padded area in between the tramps.) He was bracing for the tramp to give, so the leg that landed on the island instantly broke and ripped through his ankle area... but the real disaster was that as this was happening, the right leg that landed in the tramp bed shot him back up akwardly and it forced his body into a rotation of sorts with his broken leg still planted in the island. That rotation cut his entire foot off. I was 10 feet away when it happened and I couldn't believe it. In a matter of 3 seconds the kid's foot was dangling by "dental floss" to his leg. He was a beast. The doctors re-attached his foot. He still wants to play.
(This might be the best response to a question in the history of sports interviews ever. The mental image of this will entertain/haunt me well into my elder years -Black and Blue Jor)

7) Is there a "Michael Jordan of Slamball", as in one guy who is known around the league as being the best?
A: I don't know if there's a guy who dominates Slamball the way Jordan did the NBA... But with time, I expect there will be. Right now we have a few superstars though. James Willis , Sean Jackson, Whitney White, and Stan Fletcher are among them.

8) We keep hearing Slamball being referred to as "The XFL of Basketball". We loved the XFL (coincidentally loving a team called "The Hitmen"), but how accurate would this assessment be in your opinion?
A: Not very accurate. I hope we are never compared to the XFL. That league was created by Vince McMahon and the WWF. I would never hate on professional wrestling, but anytime the WWF backs a league I think you're kind f setting yourself up for disaster. Unless you're going to choreograph all the games. We'd like to think of ourselves more along the lines of the Arena Football League. In much the same way the Arena Football League is to the NFL or the UFC is to boxing, we would like to be to the NBA.

9) Would you rather: Angelina Jolie or Jennifer Aniston?
A: Great call... Love them both, but gotta go with Aniston.

10) The Mob are the same colors as The Howeva Files...Black and Red...This makes us brothers. Do you need us to take out any players on any of the other teams for you?
A: Hahahaha! Please. Maybe a couple guys on the Riders or the Rumble to make our division a little easier. Lol.

11) If we were interested in purchasing some Mob merchandise, what would you recommend we buy? Anything silly scores bonus points.
A: A LaMonica "the machine" Garrett man-kini. Lol. Hope that scored points. We are all just waiting for the jerseys to be released. Slamball jerseys are ridiculously nice.

12) A Man-kini? That definitely scored points.
We love that Slamball players have nicknames like "The Machine", "Inches", and "Ghetto Bird". What would your nickname be?
A: Hmmmmm, I guess "the professor". I'm kind of a nerd and am addicted to the x's and o's of Slamball. But I'm pretty good friends with Grayson Boucher from 'And One' and I don't think he'd wanna share the nickname.

13) Your team won the 2007 Powerade Slamball Challenge. What did you do to celebrate? If you "made it rain", like Titans player Pacman Jones, you are officially the best coach in any sport ever.
A: Hahaha! No. We try to stay away from club shootings as often as possible. But I think the guys did get a little crazy in Italy.

14) We imagine it's not all sunshine and gumdrops in the heat of battle. What is the meanest/funniest thing you can remember hearing yelled during game play?
A: Well, it's definitely not church out there. I can promise you that. I wouldn't be able to repeat the meanest things I've heard. (Or yelled.) The funniest thing I remember was during Season One, when a ref made a terrible call. I was going nuts and he walked over and asked me what my problem was. I told him he made a terrible call and he said "yeah, i forgot the rule for a second... sorry." It was such a funny moment because it was so honest. The refs (like the coaches) are hired because they have a high learning curve. (The slamball rule book is pretty thick.) It made me realize how tough a sport it was to officiate. And there are very few officials that actually admit to blowing a call.

15) Boxers or briefs?
A: Boxer-briefs. But I have one pair of Irish boxers I save for big games.

16) Have you, or any player you have known, ever used "I am a Slamball coach/I am a Slamball player" as a pickup line?
A: Hahahahaha! I don't think so. Do you think that would work? I'll give it a try the next time I'm out and let you know how it goes.

17) We learned, via wikipedia, that in the movie Back to the Future Part II, "Slamball" was listed as the favorite sport of Douglas J Needles while Marty McFly was speaking with him via videophone. Have you ever pointed this out to anyone?
A: You know, I was sent an e-mail the other day that said that. I love "Back to the Future" (I, II and III) but I didn't remember that part. I do remember that I was about 12 when Back to the Future II came out and I waited forever for them to invent a damn hover board. What a disappointment.

18) Agreed. Hoverboards not existing is the #1 source of stress in my life. As a coach, you have a high stress position. What is the hardest part of your job?
A: Not being able to sleep. But that's all coaching, not just Slamball. None of us can sleep. I was married during Slamball Season One and my wife used to get so mad because I'd wake up at all hours of the night with new ideas for offensive or defensive philosophies. I would get up four or five times a night and post my ideas on a wall in our condo. By the time the season was halfway done, we had a 30 foot long wall covered with Slamball courts diagrams... She divorced me a couple months later. It's a tough life. But it's worth it in the end.

19) When you are not working, what is your favorite way to relax?
A: I like to play XBOX 360. Madden, COD4, Halo and Tiger.

20) If a fan was just getting into Slamball, what would you tell them to do first?
A: Go to the website and get some info on our history.

21) How hands-on are you when in practice? Have you ever shown someone the proper way to dunk?
A: It's funny because the tramps take a lot of getting used to. We have tv personalities that always want to come and suit up to do a portion of their segment on the court. It always ends up in disaster. Jay Mohr was the funniest. He hit the tramps and did a nose dive into the island. It's probably on youtube somewhere. But I'm pretty good on the tramps, so I get out there a lot, especially to demonstrate timing on our sets. Am I out there taking face-offs? Nope. But I'd do it if it got our team fired up.

22) Sweet. We at The Howeva Files love crazy personalities. Who is the zaniest player you've ever been around and why?
A: We had a guy in the league who played for the Diablos during Season One. He was a samurai (no sh*t). And he was on a different planet. Even when he warmed up, it was like he was doing yoga with an invisible sword. Pretty funny.

23) We recently saw the movie "Rollerball" starring Chris Klein, and it was so bad that it was amazing. Have you ever seen a movie that was so awful that you wound up loving it?
A: Napoleon Dynamite. Lol. But the worst movie I've ever seen in my life was "Problem Child". Still the only movie I ever walked out of halfway through. I wanted to punch that kid.

24) Yes, and still somehow John Ritter's best movie. On an unrelated note, to wrap up, we read that Slamball has had you guys travelling around quite a bit. What is the coolest city you have been in during your travels?
A: We hit the normal big US markets. (LA, NYC, etc.) So I am really looking forward to training camp this year. We are at the IMG Complex in Bradenton, Florida, which is on the gulf coast. I've heard storied about the IMG facilities that are legendary, so I can't wait to get out there and try play a round of golf against a 13 year old prodigy.

A truly fantastic interview involves Back To The Future II, references to sex with Jennifer Aniston, and mentions of samurais. Our special thanks to Brendan "The Professor" Kirsch to answering all of our questions. He has made some Slamball fans for life.


LebronsAPansy said...

The Mob is an incredibly cool team name. I think I'm going to name my son "The Mob" to ensure he'll grow up tough.

Taylor Cunningham on March 21, 2008 at 10:29 PM said...

I added the you tube clip from the show. Believe it or not, I have this episode on VHS and I watch the piece with the Dr explaining the x-rays over and over again. Do we really need an MD to tell us that the foot is supposed to be at the bottom, not detached and floating off to the side? I'm pretty sure that whenever this guy enters a room everyone says "Hi Doctor Nick!"

MagicManEvan said...

Very cool interview. I haven't heard about Slamball in ages. I saw the vid of the guy's leg just about severed. THAT was insane!

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