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An introduction to 3×3 basketball

If the prospect of watching full-sized basketball leaves you feeling cold, the fast pace and physical nature of 3×3 basketball could be right up your street.

3x3basketball’s growth in popularity persuaded the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) to sanction the sport, helping it become a viable alternative to traditional basketball.

With 3×3 basketball given further legitimacy courtesy of online bookmakers offering odds on major events, it appears the sport is here to stay.

With that in mind, we have produced a handy guide to 3×3 basketball to help you get to grips with this hugely entertaining sport.

When did 3×3 basketball start?

3×3 basketball has its roots in street basketball games played in the United States during the 1970s and 1980s, with hastily formed teams playing on small courts with just one basket.

FIBA first trialled organised 3×3 basketball at the 2007 Asian Indoor Games in China, before officially introducing it at the 2010 Summer Youth Olympic Games in Singapore.

They have subsequently established 3×3 World Cup and a 3×3 World Tour, while the Big3 professional league was also established in the US.

After successfully making its full Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020, the sport will feature again in Paris at the iconic Place de la Concorde next summer.

How does 3×3 basketball work?

Two teams of three players compete in 3×3 basketball. The games are staged on a half court, with just one basket in play during each contest.

A basket scored from inside the shooting circle counts as one point, while a basket from beyond the shooting circle counts as two points. There is a 12-second shot clock.

Each game lasts until a team scores 21 points or 10 minutes have expired – whichever occurs first. If the score is tied after 10 minutes, overtime is played. The first team to score two points wins.

There are several other subtle differences in the rules for 3×3 basketball and the traditional variant of the sport, which can be found on the FIBA website.

Which are the biggest 3×3 basketball events?

First staged in 2012, the FIBA 3×3 World Cup is the top global tournament for national teams. It features a men’s and women’s division.

The FIBA 3×3 World Tour is another prestigious event which runs from spring through to the World Tour Finals during December.

Teams from cities around the world collect points in a tournament format in the hope of making it through to the final showdown.

The Olympic Games and Red Bull Half Court are among the other noteworthy global events featuring 3×3 basketball.

Who are the best 3×3 basketball players?

Serbian basketball star Strahinja Stojacic is one of the best players in 3×3 basketball – a point demonstrated by him winning the MVP Award at the 2023 FIBA 3×3 World Cup.

Compatriot Stefan Kojic is another player widely regarded as one of the world’s best exponents of 3×3 basketball after producing numerous clutch moments in big games.

Former NBA player Jimmer Fredette had an unremarkable career in traditional basketball but has established himself as on of the top names in the 3×3 variant.

Nauris Miezis, Stefan Milivojevic, Luis Cuascut and Gilles Martin are other names to watch out for in a sport that looks set to become a global phenomenon.

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