Kate Wood reviews often-overlooked 3v3 basketball, which has just been added to the events for the 2020 Olympics.
It may feel like the Olympics wasn’t that long ago, but a year has passed since Rio last summer and athlete and administrator attention is already focused on Tokyo 2020. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is attempting to put greater focus on gender balance and urban sport recognition at the games. Over the last number of days, fifteen new events have been added to the Olympic program, including 3v3 basketball.
 
Starting on the streets, 3v3 basketball continues to grow in popularity and participation around the world. The event has been a part of the Youth Olympic Games since 2010 but just last Friday it was officially added to the Olympics for 2020. The news was met with tumultuous celebration from players and campaigners as they took to social media with #fromthestreetstotheOlympics. Patrick Baumann, FIBA’s general secretary, welcomed the decision, saying: ‘The dream of a path from the streets to the Olympic Games has become the reality for the basketball community’.
 
3v3 is something which is not commonly known or talked about by many people, but in the basketball world has been up and coming for last number of years. The FIBA World Cup began in 2012 and European tournaments for both men and women taking place since 2014. In the 2015 tournament, Ireland’s women's team reached the quarter-final, only to lose out to a strong Russian side. Even at underage level, the sport continues to grow; 2011 saw the saw 3v3 tournament in Rimini, Italy and then in Hungary in 2015. The 4th annual FIBA 3v3 World Cup will begin in Nantes, France on the 17th- 21st June this year.
 
For anyone who attended basketball camp when they were younger, 3v3 was usually a favourite activity of most players. For all tournaments relating to 3 on 3 competitions, the official FIBA rules are used. However, in Tokyo there are a specific set rules set by the Olympic committee…
 
  • There is no jump ball to start the game, instead a coin toss takes place where the winner decides to either take possession or go on defence.
  • A team is made of maximum 4 players, 3 on the court and one substitute. There are no coaches.
  • The court used is the same size equivalent as half a normal one with a 12 second shot clock (instead of the usual 24 seconds).
  • A shot outside the three-point line will only gain players two points and anything inside is just one-point, that’s right no three-pointers.
  • After a turnover, a defensive rebound or a basket is scored, the ball must be taken back outside the arc before a shot can be taken.
  • The game ends after one 10 minute period OR when a team reaches 21 points.
 
Sixteen teams will compete at the Olympics to include 64 athletes (32 men and 32 women), giving more countries and more athletes the chance to compete at the prestigious games.
 
To keep an eye out for upcoming events and for more information, check out FIBA.com and Basketball Ireland online or on Facebook.