If you're a follower of RandBall, you may have read about plans for a new professional 3-on-3 basketball league scheduled to start play this summer.
Now, the International Olympic Committee is considering adding the half-court game to the 2020 Olympics in Japan. A vote is expected on Friday.
“Now there is an urban cluster that has been created,” FIBA secretary general Patrick Baumann told The Associated Press. “The best urban team sport is 3-on-3 street basketball. It would certainly be a perfect fit.”
It would be part of a move to add more sports to the Olympics that appeal to younger audiences. Skateboarding was approved for 2020 by the IOC last year.
The idea has attracted some Internet buzz. On the Clutch Points basketball blog, Nihad Zunic wrote: "The Olympics can be pretty boring in terms of basketball, especially if you are American. Watching the worlds biggest stars just dismantling other nations can be pretty boring, other than some resilient nations such as Serbia or Spain which get beat but with a little effort."
On CBSsports.com, Jack Maloney mused about who would participate: "It would be interesting to see which players would be selected for this, if it's the first few players cut from the 5-on-5 teams, or just a completely different pool of players altogether. Either way, this would be pretty sick. Having more basketball to watch is never a bad thing."
Kurt Kelin of Pro Basketball Talk laid out some of the rules that make for a faster-paced game: "It’s a pretty frenetic version of the game because of the 12-second shot clock and the fact that play never stops — after a made basket the team that gave up the bucket gets the ball and clears it out to the arc then can instantly start. There’s no make-it-and-take-it rule, and the ball does not have to be checked before play starts. FIBA sees it as a version of the game for a modern age — faster paced and with short games for those who don’t want to pay attention for a full 40 minutes."
In case you're wondering, there is a World Cup of 3 on 3 basketball sponsored by FIBA. It will be held later this month in France, with the United States as the fourth seed behind Serbia, Slovenia and Poland. Players on the team aren't exactly household names, with the four-player United States roster made up of players who in their late 20s and early 30s, including Craig Moore, who played for Northwestern.
If the sport catches on, though, it would be interesting to see if some of the bigger names mentioned in the new United States "Big 3" league would be take their game to the Olympics. Allen Iverson, maybe? With some of these guys?
Here's RandBall's original blog post about the league. It's a bit disappointing that J.R. Rider and Latrell Sprewell, who were included with the original group of players, aren't listed on current rosters. But Rashad McCants, Chauncery Billups and Joe Smith are. So we're in.