Adrenaline runs high as members of the C-Town Throwdowns, the Cleveland Cavaliers high-flying slam dunk team, unite at center court in a huddle to prepare for another gravity-defying performance during a timeout at The Q. Moments after Cavs hype man Ahmaad announces the team to pump up thousands of screaming fans, the guys begin to speed down the hardwood floor and launch themselves off of trampolines high into the air. What happens next will blow your mind! Every. Time.
The C-Town Throwdowns is comprised of nine Cavaliers Scream Team members with a knack for taking it to the rim. Each dunker has the opportunity to “wow” the crowd with individual dunk moves and the multi-layered, difficult group dunks that often include up to six members at a time. These acrobatic basketball stunts are no freestyle improvisation; the team spends plenty time in the gym with coaches AJ and Greg Ganim.
The dunk team was formed in 2010 in partnership with the Ganim brothers, who own Gymnastics World, the largest gymnastics training facility in northeast Ohio. Since then, the team has grown to become a crowd favorite at The Q with increasingly challenging and mind-boggling slam dunk moves. But more than that, this group has developed a bond and culture of support that embodies the “All For One. One For All.” spirit of the Cavs.
As a way to celebrate another season of high-flying entertainment, team members Motion, Nino, Bizzy and Coach Ganim sat down with Cavs.com to discuss what it’s like to be a C-Town Throwdown.
What is your favorite dunk to do?
Motion: My favorite dunk is something called the “double legger,” where the ball goes between both legs before I dunk it.
Nino: My favorite dunk is when I look back at my feet and bring my head forward just in time. When you’re looking back you can see yourself getting farther from the trampoline and it feels like you’re flying.
Bizzy: This is my first year so anytime I can make a dunk, that’s my favorite dunk. It’s really hard to get up there; it’s not as easy as it looks.
What goes on behind-the-scenes that most people wouldn’t see?
Motion: People would see all of the missed dunks and close calls that we have. We practice for a few times a week on top of dance rehearsals, so we make sure it counts.
Nino: The timing of it all is delicate. If we pass off the ball a second too soon, the ball will be too low for the next person, or one second too late and the ball is too high. You have to have a rapport with the person in front of you.
Bizzy: After practice we don’t give handshakes. Our hands are too sore from the rim, so instead we double tap the back of our hands.
Coach Greg Ganim: What people wouldn’t see is how much timing and practice goes into it all. Even with the simplest dunk, you’re in the air and have to control your body.
What is your favorite part about being on the team?
Motion: It’s hard to pick one thing because everything from us huddling together right before show time and getting everyone ready to go, to approaching the trampoline and getting that rush is such an awesome feeling.
Nino: Personally, I love getting better every day. It’s like here is where you are at now, and what’s next? So I love getting better with every performance.
Bizzy: I’m 5’4” on a good day and I get to dunk on the same rim that professional basketball players dunk on, so that’s exhilarating for me.
Coach Greg Ganim: I just love the crowd reaction and knowing we put on a good show by the expressions on their faces. That’s why I did this – I love entertaining – unfortunately I’m a little old and can’t do it myself anymore, but knowing I help put smiles on fans’ faces is what it’s all about.
Have you ever messed up during a show?
Motion: On opening night of our second year, I launched onto the trampoline and my foot got stuck in between the frame and the pad. My brother had to help me get unstuck – but I got out and the show went on. I’m still flying high.
Bizzy: It’s always tough to walk back to the group when you miss. It’s just a walk of shame back. Our goal is to have a perfect show with no missed dunks.
What do you hope to accomplish in the future?
Mizzy: Personally, I would love to travel around with my buddies and showcase this wherever we can. We’re kind of underdogs in this scene, so we just want to show that we can do this too.
Nino: We would love to bring the show far and wide to all the people who have never seen a dunk team.
Motion: Maybe they have seen it, but they haven’t seen it how C-Town does it.