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ACRODUNK inspires and entertains

7/17/2013

ACRODUNKER J-SKILLZ soars above the rim for this monster slam. Courtesy of Chris Gillespie

ACRODUNKER J-SKILLZ soars above the rim for this monster slam. Courtesy of Chris Gillespie

Look! Up in the sky. It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s… unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. Basketball season may be over but that doesn’t mean it’s time to put the rock into storage. Now is the time to practice, practice, practice in the off-season to get better than the rest. With all the heat, it may be a little hard to find the motivation to get out and play, so how about making a stop at the Iowa Games Athlete Jamboree to check out the ACRODUNK show? It’s something you have to see to believe.

Founder and athlete Jerry Burrell coined the name ACRODUNK back in 1993, but it wasn’t until ’94 that he created his team and took them on the road.

“We began in 1994 as the ‘High Impact Squad,’ which still exists,” said Burrell. “Our show is unique because we incorporate elements like our big circle tramp and scaffolding and multiple mini trampolines. We coined the term ACRODUNK in 1993 as a combination of acrobatics and dunking.”

Burrell started his career as a mascot for the Houston Rockets performing acrobatic slam-dunks. Eventually he got the chance to put his full acrobatic skills on display in a streamlined spandex costume creating the character he called “Sports Super Hero.” A Sports Super Hero is someone who not only displays amazing athletic skill but also inspires others to greatness, according to Burrell. This focus on not only entertaining but also inspiring the audience is the mindset of every ACRODUNKER.

Once these guys take flight, there’s no doubt everyone in the audience will be inspired. Their athleticism is unmatched, and their routines are unique for every show.

“We have a lot of crazy dunks, but if I were to narrow it down to (the craziest), it would be what we call the G12. That is where we do a series of passes and loop around and another series of passes before dunking the ball,” Burrell said. “We combine acrobatic dunking, tumbling, dance, humor and suspense. We are working on the ‘IG,’ a new dunk just for Iowa Games. We hope to have it perfected in time to use it.”

One key thing to remember is that ACRODUNK is not Slamball.

“Slamball is a competitive game between opposing teams on a basketball court with floor-level, full-size trampolines,” said Burrell. “We have competitions, but we are mostly providing premier entertainment using mini trampolines and above-ground full trampolines, and nothing we use is floor level.”

The mentality for Burrell is simple: Keep the focus on entertaining and inspiring the audience. The goal is to blow people away with dunks and passes every time they perform and hopefully take the audience to a place in their minds where they ask, “How can I excel like this in my area?”

“The best part about being a part of ACRODUNK is I get to do something I was put on this planet to do and inspire people in the process,” said Burrell. CV

David Rowley is an Iowa native with a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Iowa and a master’s in film journalism from the University of Glasgow in Scotland.

Iowa Games Athlete Jamboree will take place on Saturday, July 20 from 4:30-7:30 p.m. at lots S6 and S7 on Iowa State University campus (directly east of Jack Trice Stadium on University Boulevard). The Opening Ceremony will take place immediately following inside Jack Trice Stadium from 7:45-9 p.m.

ACRODUNK will be performing twice. The first will be at 5:30 p.m. on the east side of Jack Trice Stadium. The second will be during the Opening Ceremony at 8:30 p.m. Both times are approximate.

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