3×3 basketball made its debut at the Tokyo Olympics. Here’s what you need to know

basketball 3×3 made his Olympic Games debut in Tokyo and the tournament begins today.

You might be wondering how it’s different from regular basketball (other than the obvious) and who to watch out for.

We have all the answers for you.

Where does 3×3 basketball come from?

3×3 has its roots in street basketball, with the official rules established by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) in 2007.

It’s a bit like pickup or possession basketball which is usually played at the neighborhood park or local school.

The 3×3 first appeared at the Youth Olympics in 2010, while the inaugural World Cup tournament was held in 2012.

He is claimed to be the number one urban team sports in the world.

The 3×3 concept comes from street basketball.(

Flickr: jackiembarr


How is 3×3 basketball different?

There are many differences between 3×3 basketball and regular basketball. Here are the main differences with 3×3:

  • Played on a half court
  • Smaller basketball
  • 10 minutes of playing time or first at 21 points
  • 12 second firing clock
  • One point for a basket inside the arch, two beyond
  • Play is continuous, so when the opponent scores you simply catch the ball under the basket and continue
  • Once you’ve gotten possession of the ball, you need to get the ball out of the arc before your team can score.


What else is different?

You only get a free throw if you get dirty while firing.

There is no limit to personal fouls, but once a team hits seven fouls, the opponent gets two free throws.

Each team also has a player on the bench who can be replaced, while the coaches cannot be on the field.

What makes a good 3×3 player?

Unlike regular basketball where roles and positions are clearly defined, 3×3 basketball is more about Versatility.

The best players are fast, athletic and has a great mix of individual and team skills.

It is a creative brand of basketball played in an electric atmosphere.

Belgium and Turkey play three-on-three basketball match
Versatility and athleticism are essential for 3×3 players.(

Reuters: Kai Pfaffenbach, file photo


Why is it the Olympics if we already have regular basketball?

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has taken a deliberate decision in recent years to make the Games more attractive to young people.

Part of this push included the introduction of sports that reflect a street culture.

Hence the inclusion of events like 3×3, skateboarding and BMX freestyle at Tokyo 2020.

Who plays?

Unfortunately, not Australia. The women’s team had an excellent run at a qualifying tournament in Austria in May, but fell narrowly.

The men’s event will be composed of Poland, Latvia, China, Serbia, ROCK (Russian Olympic Committee), the Netherlands, Belgium and Japan.

The notable omission here is the reigning world champion – the United States.

On the women’s side it will be Russia, Japan, China, Romania, Italy, Mongolia, United States and France.

Which teams to watch?

Australia’s Best 3×3 Player Bec Cole told us the United States, France and China were the teams to watch on the women’s side.

The United States went undefeated in the qualifying tournament in Austria. France, meanwhile, has four of the top five players in the world.

Cole says Serbia, Latvia and the Netherlands are the teams to beat for men.

Serbia have a history of 3×3 basketball success while the Netherlands caused one of the biggest upheavals in recent times by knocking out the United States in the qualifying tournament.

Who are the stars of the game?

A low angle shot shows Migna Touré entering for a layup with the short and standing in the background.
French star Migna Touré is one to watch in Tokyo.(

Provided: FIBA


FIBA class 3×3 players, and Latvian 190cm Nauris Miezis, who was the MVP of the 2020 World Tour, is the men’s world number one.

from serbia Dusan Bulut is considered by many to be the 3×3 GOAT. He won several world championships and MVPs during his career which began in 2012.

Cole says French Migna Toure, currently ranked number two in the world, is the player to watch on the women’s side.

Hometown hero and young gun Mai Yamamoto led Japan to their first ever basketball world title of any kind in 2019 and 165cm in height proves that height is not that crucial in this form of play.

Many 3×3 players have experience at the highest level of professional basketball.

So why should I watch?

If you are up for high speed and skillful basketball but don’t have two hours to spare, this game is for you.

Rebecca Cole sits on a basketball on a colorful court smiling for a photo.
Bec Cole is Australia’s highest ranked 3×3 player.(

Instagram: rebeccajcole


When are the medal matches?

The group matches start today and end on Tuesday.

The matches for the gold and bronze medals of the men’s and women’s tournaments will be contested late Wednesday evening AEST.

And by the way, is it “3 out of 3”, “3 ex 3”, “3 out of 3” or “3 times 3”?

When I was a kid, when I played basketball in the park, we called it 3v3.

But this form of play is pronounced “3 ex 3”.

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