An Elephant & His Slam Dunking Trunk

There's a unique basketball shot performed by athletes who jump in the air, control the ball above the horizontal plane of the rim, and score by zinging the ball directly through the basket with one or both hands. That's a Slam Dunk!

The terms "slam dunk" was coined by former Los Angeles Lakers announcer Chick Hearn.

It's difficult enough for a human to perfect this game play, let alone an animal -- let alone a pachyderm. This maneuver is usually the highest percentage shot and definitely a crowd-pleaser, hands down. With an elephant, we might characterize it as "crowd-pleaser trunks down!"

With a little help from a Ninja . . .

Rene Casselly is a circus trainer, German acrobat and Ninja Warrior TV performer who grew up with massive animals. Over the month of June, Casselly perfected basketball trick shots and dunks with his very own elephants.

In Budapest, Hungary, Casselly had his latest stunt posted on YouTube where an elephant lifted him into the air to complete this tricky shot!

Casselly is a seventh generation show performer and animal trainer - and has proved it certainly is possible to teach an old elephant new tricks.

This video footage also shows his elephant, Kimba allowing him to stand on his tusks.

Animal Advocacy

Some animal advocates criticize the trainer similarly to Circus organizations that abuse elephants when teaching them how to perform these types of tricks. However, Casselly assures the public Kimba is healthy, happy and well-looked after - and is trained in the same way dogs are, with positive reinforcement and treats.

The 22-year-old said: 'These videos show the trust animals and humans can have for each other. We can do amazing and unique stuff together as a team.

'Kimba recently helped me to dunk a ball into a basket - it was a dangerous stunt which can only work with perfect teamwork, trust and respect for each other.

"I'm always trying to do things with my elephants that have not been seen before. Just recently I taught my elephant to throw a ball into a basket from behind the three-point line. Elephants are so much smarter then we think. My feeling about this is pretty good," Casselly added.

Primary Source: USA Today