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Report: 3-on-3 basketball to be added to Olympics for 2020 Games in Tokyo


BAKU, AZERBAIJAN - JUNE 26: A general view of the action during the Men’s 3x3 Basketball gold medal match between Russia and Spain on day fourteen of the Baku 2015 European Games at the Basketball Arena on June 26, 2015 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images for BEGOC)

Jamie Squire

For several years now, FIBA (the international organizing body of basketball) has been pushing a 3-on-3 version of the sport. They see it sort of like beach volleyball compared to the traditional indoor game — it’s the way a lot of us have played the game in pick-up games at the park: Half court, scoring by 1 or 2, games are to 21 (with a 10-minute limit), and if the other team misses a shot you have to clear it beyond the three-point line before you can shoot. FIBA has tried to grow this version of the sport, and there is even a 3-on-3 world cup that tips off in a couple of weeks in France.

Now 3-on-3 basketball likely will be coming to the Olympics, reports the Associated Press.

Every four years the International Olympic Committee looks to add sports to the games (or remove some), and for Tokyo in 2020 it looks like 3-on-3 basketball will make the cut. The final vote is next Friday.

It’s a pretty frenetic version of the game because of the 12-second shot clock and the fact that play never stops — after a made basket the team that gave up the bucket gets the ball and clears it out to the arc then can instantly start. There’s no make-it-and-take-it rule, and the ball does not have to be checked before play starts.

FIBA sees it as a version of the game for a modern age — faster paced and with short games for those who don’t want to pay attention for a full 40 minutes. The game is basically a sprint with no stop (and no coach). Don’t expect NBA players to jump into this, the 2017 USA men’s team features Quinton Chievous (played in college at Tennessee, spent last season in the D-League with Iowa averaging 8.7 points per game), Myke Henry (DePaul and the Oklahoma City Blue of the D-League), Alfonzo McKinnie (University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and the Windy City Bulls of the D-League), and Jonathan Octeus (Purdue and the Windy City Bulls).

The more the merrier, it should be fun to watch. Although, what I’d rather see from FIBA is an expansion of the 5-on-5 basketball pool for the Olympics from 12 to more like 20 — a lot of good teams don’t get in because of the small artificial cutoff.