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USA Basketball and Red Bull team up for ‘3×3 Day’ with Barclays Center half-court tournament

The 3x3 tournament at Barclays Center. (Courtesy of Red Bull)

USA Basketball and Red Bull have teamed up to proclaim Tuesday, March 3, as 3×3 day ahead of the half-court game set to debut this summer during the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Festivities for 3×3 day, however, took place on Sunday, when Brooklyn’s Barclays Center played host to a special 3×3 tournament that followed Olympic rules.

A game during the 3×3 tournament.
(Alex Mitchell)

There are several main differentiators between the half-court, 3×3 style and the traditional, 5-on-5, full-court game that most are accustomed to.

The half-court games are just 10 minutes long, and have 12 second shot clocks. A standard bucket is worth one point; a traditional three-point shot is worth just two points. There’s no inbound checking, and a game automatically ends when a team nets 21 points.

The 3×3 games at the Barclays Center featured non-stop live music along with plenty more, fan friendly style approaches to the expedient game.

Custom printed jerseys were made during the 3×3 tournament.
(Alex Mitchell)

The time flies by in a 3×3 contest, as this reporter experienced Sunday. The only unnatural element of the game is playing “loser’s ball” style on the half court with no check, though the referees will issue a warning for wrongfully playing out the ball before it becomes a violation.

A point guard takes an NBA length three pointer in the tournament.
(Courtesy of Red Bull)

While many of the games were intense and exciting, one final game between The Other Guys and The Flying Dutchmen proved to have a storybook ending — at least for amateurs.

Trailing by two with 30 seconds left, The Other Guys forward Zach Kayal managed a two-pointer from downtown to even the score. 

A Dutchmen turnover would result in Other Guys guard Rob Pelaez putting up an airball jumper with five seconds left, which this reporter, while playing center, recovered for a buzzer-beating shot that won the game. 

The team ‘The Other Guys’ managed to hit a buzzer beating shot in their final game to avoid losing literally each game in the tournament. (Courtesy of Red Bull)

On a more professional level, the USA men and women will compete for an Olympic berth at the 2020 FIBA 3×3 Olympic Qualifying Tournament March 18-22 in Bengaluru, India.

It’s the top three men’s and women’s teams which earn spots in the upcoming Tokyo games.

Should the U.S. qualify, the final 3×3 Olympic rosters will be chosen from participants in the 2020 Red Bull USA Basketball 3X National qualifiers, slated for April in Las Vegas.

Prior to becoming an Olympic sport, 3×3 basketball gained much popularity at the college level. This led to the creation of a postseason college all-star tournament, which offers a $150,000 grand prize. 

Utah Jazz guard and Queens native Justin Wright-Foreman won that 3×3 tournament last year, playing on the Colonial Athletic Association team.

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