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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
— 3X3U National Championship (@3X3UHoops) April 7, 2019