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Air Nomads emblem

Aang used airbending to handle an airball.

Airball was a ball game played by the Air Nomads atop a court of towering wooden poles. In the game, which could be played with a minimum of two participants, the players would use their airbending to cause a hollow ball to ricochet among the poles and enter the goal through the wooden ring on the other side of the court. This traditional game relied on an airbender's speed, balance, and accuracy.[1][2]

Due to its unique trait of being played on elevated poles, airball requires a certain amount of dexterity and balance, both of which are notable traits among the Air Nomads. As a result, most, if not all, non-airbenders who attempt this game will find it very difficult to play.[3]


The Eastern Air Temple traditionally had a fierce airball rivalry with the Western Air Temple. Nuns from opposing temples usually taunted one another about this when meeting for the first time, even if they were not planning to play the sport together.[4]

Avatar Yangchen often played airball with Jetsun at the Western Air Temple. Jetsun showed Yangchen no mercy on the airball court, and laughed in her face as she kept her scoreless. Yangchen considered this to be part of their close relationship, and thought of Jetsun as her sister.[5] Yangchen even managed to become captain of the Western Novice Airball Team.[6] Later, as a fully-realized Avatar, Yangchen practiced her airbending on the airball field of the Northern Air Temple after she left Bin-Er, frustrated at her defeats.[4]

Airball goal

The goal ring spins when a player successfully manages to score.

The game was played by the Air Nomads until the Air Nomad Genocide, when it along with a majority of Air Nomad culture was lost. However, toward the end of the Hundred Year War, Avatar Aang emerged from an iceberg and re-released the sport into the world. At the Southern Air Temple, he played the game with Sokka, who was easily defeated due to his lack of bending.[3]

Aang later passed the rules to the sport onto his airbending son, Tenzin, who taught the game to his children. In 171 AG, Aang's grandchildren visited several of the air temples, and at the Southern Air Temple, they decided to play the game with each other.[7]

Game components[]


The ball utilized in this game is about the size of a soccer ball. It appears to be made out of hollow, lightweight wood, with the sides slotted for minimum air resistance and maximum elasticity. Players use their airbending to get the ball moving, making it spin in order to provide momentum. As the game progresses, the ball is bounced between the poles as it makes its way toward the goal.[3]


Airball court

An airball court has multiple wooden poles on which the players stand.

The game's playing field is a spacious area, approximately seventy feet long and forty feet wide, laden with over one hundred and twenty unevenly spaced, wooden poles. Although the poles differ in height, ranging from about fifteen to twenty-five feet, they all retain the same width of around two feet, making it relatively easy for a player to stand on top of each beam.[3]


The airball goal is a wooden square with an embedded circle that spins on a vertical axis when struck. They are relatively large, nearing the height of a young Air Nomad, and one is positioned on each end of the field. Points are awarded when the ball goes through one of these goals at any point in time during the game.[3]


It is known that there are goal defenders for each team and offensive players that try to gain control of the ball. Highly skilled airbenders may be able to play without the need of teammates, as was demonstrated by Aang, who was able to get the airball across the field and through the goal in one slice. However, it should be noted that the opposing defender was Sokka, who lacked knowledge of the game as well as the balance and airbending required to effectively pose a challenge.[3]


  • Airball bears many similarities to power disc, as both sports involve the use of bending to navigate an object through a series of obstacles with the objective of scoring against an opponent.
  • Airball is said to be an extremely fast-paced game.[1]
  • Sister Iio was known to be particularly skilled at playing airball.[8]
  • Airball is one of only two known Air Nomad sports, the other being bison polo.


  1. 1.0 1.1 From older Avatar: The Last Airbender official site, originally on Nick.com. Encyclopedia now broken, archived at The Lost Lore of Avatar Aang - Gear: Airball.
  2. The Ultimate Pocket Guide, page 5.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 DiMartino, Michael Dante (writer) & MacMullan, Lauren (director). (February 25, 2005). "The Southern Air Temple". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 3. Nickelodeon.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Yee, F. C. (author). (July 19, 2022). Chapter Sixteen, "Making Ready". The Dawn of Yangchen. Amulet Books.
  5. Yee, F. C. (author). (July 19, 2022). Chapter One, "The First Step". The Dawn of Yangchen. Amulet Books.
  6. Yee, F. C. (author). (July 18, 2023). Chapter Seventeen, "Baited". The Legacy of Yangchen. Amulet Books.
  7. DiMartino, Michael Dante (writer) & Graham, Ian (director). (September 27, 2013). "Civil Wars, Part 2". The Legend of Korra. Book Two: Spirits. Episode 4. Nickelodeon.
  8. From older Avatar: The Last Airbender official site, originally on Nick.com. Encyclopedia now broken, archived at The Lost Lore of Avatar Aang - Character: Sister Iio.

See also[]