It's official! The International Olympic Committee has just announced that the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo will include 3-on-3 basketball for both men and women.
Since team USA has dominated the competition in regular 5-on-5 basketball for many years with only one loss on their record, some people will not be as excited to see this new event. However, as dominant as team USA has been in this event, 3-on-3 basketball is a very different challenge.
The pace of the game is extremely fast with only 12 seconds to shoot each possession. Extreme focus and precision is essential when making decisions and taking shots due to the quick turnaround that one mistake can cost a team. The high stakes and rapid pace of the game should have spectators on their on the edge of their seats during every possession.
To spice things up even more, team USA will also need to get used to the FIBA rules. Besides the ball being slightly smaller than the NBA ball, the biggest difference in these rules is that once the ball hits the rim, anyone is free to swat the ball off. In the NBA, this would be considered goaltending and would give the offense the basket. However, FIBA rules allow this to be a major part of the game. This adds an extra element that NBA fans are not used to seeing and could be very fascinating to watch.
An interesting entity to think about is who would possibly play in this 3-on-3 competition. There are a multitude of potential very exciting trios that could be extremely fascinating to watch.
Would LeBron James team up with some of his super friends Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony for a chance to finally play together? Would former teammates Russell Westbrook, James Harden, and Kevin Durant join forces again to see what could've been? Could we possibly see two of the best ball handlers in Kyrie Irving and Steph Curry team up, or best defenders Kawhi Leonard and Draymond Green join forces. The options here are limitless.
However, LeBron James was recently asked about playing in this competition and he didn't seem to personally have an interest. He was quoted saying, "I'm not very good at the 3-on-3 thing" and "I'm more of a 5-on-5 guy." This could be the mindset of other NBA stars but for right now we will just have to wait and see. The Tokyo games are a couple years away, so everyone has ample time to think this through.
Retired NBA players might even decide to join the fun. They could actually be slightly more likely to represent Team USA than NBA players. Former players such as Allen Iverson, Stephen Jackson, Jason Williams, with many more, are all competing in a 3-on-3 competition this summer put together by Ice Cube called The Big3.
These same players may very well likely be the ones available when it's time for the Olympics. As of right now, the Big3 league is noncommittal on this subject. They did however put out a statement supporting the new Olympic sport saying "This decision reconfirms our gut instinct that 3-on-3 basketball is what sports and entertainment fans want to see."
Whether it is current or former NBA players representing the U.S. for 3-on-3 basketball in 2020, the games will be widely successful. This type of pickup style basketball is something that many fans can relate to, and now they can watch the greatest athletes in the world play in this unique setting.