3-on-3 Basketball is Now an Olympic Event


Business Insider – On Friday the IOC announced a number of new events that will be included in the upcoming 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

Most notable among these new additions for basketball fans is the inclusion of 3-on-3 basketball for both men and women.

The 3-on-3 Olympic competition will follow current FIBA rules. Games will be played in the half court with a 12-second shot clock. Scoring goes by ones and twos over the course of one, 10-minute period.

The first team to reach 21, or whoever is leading at the end of the 10-minute period, wins.

Every four years, the Summer Olympics try to become a little bit more like the X Games. Which is strange because the Summer Olympics, love them or hate them, are a quadrennial colossus. I couldn’t turn on a television last August with out seeing a swimming pool. Meanwhile, the X Games exist to provide #content and programming hours for ESPN  during the dog days. The X Games could be permanently canceled tomorrow and I wouldn’t know one person that even noticed, never mind cared about it.

But 3-on-3 basketball? If the Summer Olympics can have regular volleyball AND beach volleyball, why not 3-on-3 basketball in addition to regular basketball? If Michael Phelps can win eight gold medals in one summer, why can’t Kevin Durant go for two? And at least I already know the gist of the rules as opposed to BMX Freestyle Cycling, which was also added for 2020.  I bet BMX Freestyle Cycling scoring makes figure skating scoring look like scoring the word CAT in Scrabble.


The other thing 3-on-3 basketball has going for it is that it is quick. Last night’s Red Sox game took more than four hours. You could play a 3-on-3 basketball best-of-15 gold medal final in that same time. With 10-minute games and 12-second shot clocks, a game of 3-on-3 basketball will be quicker than a game of Madden.

My only gripe is the lack of the obligatory “win by two” rule. Rematch city. Which is why the gold medal round has to be at least best-of-seven. That would still only take about an hour. And this has to be played outdoors in 90 degree heat, with a chain link fence two feet out of bounds. Otherwise, why not just make the three-point shooting contest an Olympic event?

Wait, let’s not give them any more ideas.

Categories: NBA, NCAA, TV

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