Considered to be the number one urban sport in the world, 3×3 basketball developed from a creative variation of basketball with a less formal structure – street basketball. Evolving from outdoor courts to the Olympic Games, 3×3 basketball has been structured over the years by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), the governing body responsible for developing 5×5 basketball. The introduction of events such as the 3×3 World Tour and the 3×3 Superleague in France reflects the soaring popularity of this young urban sport, which is played in an electric atmosphere whipped up by the DJ and the music.
Brief overview of the rules
3×3 basketball is played on a half-court where two teams of three players compete. Both teams attack and defend the same hoop, depending on who has possession of the ball. The winner is the team with the highest score at the end of the 10-minute period or the first team to reach 21 points. The three‑point line in conventional basketball serves as the two-point line in 3×3 basketball, with shots made outside the line earning two points and those inside it one.
At the Tokyo Games in 2021, eight teams of three players and one substitute will go head to head for the first men’s and women’s Olympic titles in the history of 3×3 basketball. Although 3×3 games are shorter, 3×3 players need to demonstrate just as much flexibility, skill and anticipation as 5×5 players.
3×3 basketball was added to the programme of the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games. It also featured at the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games and the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games. On the back of this young sport’s resounding success, the IOC announced its decision in 2017 to include 3×3 basketball as part of the Olympic programme at the Tokyo 2020 Games. This new dynamic, spectacular, urban variation of basketball will be sure to captivate Olympic spectators.
International federation : International Basketball Federation (FIBA)
© Marcelo Endelli/Getty Images