Three-on-three basketball has made its way from local playgrounds to the biggest athletic stage in the world. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) voted to approve the half-court basketball variant as an official event at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
This marks the first addition of an urban team sport to the Olympic schedule. “It’s a different skill set,” FIBA secretary general Patrick Baumann said in an interview with AP News. “It’s really a 10-minute sprint, no coach, so you need to take the right decisions.”
With this announcement and Ice Cube’s BIG3 league beginning later this month, 3-on-3 basketball is on the rise.
Per NBC Sports:
Three-on-three basketball was on the Youth Olympic program in 2010 and 2014. FIBA has held World Championships (also called World Cups) in the discipline since 2012.
It’s unknown if NBA players would take part in Olympic 3-on-3. No U.S. 3-on-3 players at worlds or the Youth Olympics has played an NBA game. Some played at Division I programs such as Connecticut and Gonzaga.
Napheesa Collier and Katie Lou Samuelson, the UConn women’s top two scorers last season, earned 3-on-3 gold at the 2014 Youth Olympics.
Three-on-three is a half-court, one-basket game with two teams of four players (one sub). Typically, game time is 10 minutes or first team to 21 points.
The 2020 Olympic 3-on-3 tournaments will include eight men’s teams and eight women’s teams.
FIBA said it will announce qualification procedures and a competition format at a later date.