BFI to launch national 3x3 Basketball championships this year
3×3 Basketball is here to stay. FIBA wants it at the 2016 Olympics. 3×3 World Championships and tours are now being heavily promoted by Basketball’s governing body. The NBA is boosting it with 3×3 tournaments across India (and Asia). And India’s national teams have begun to participate (and dominate) Asian 3×3 tournaments.
With 3×3 Basketball becoming more organised and official across the world, it was only a matter of time before this quickfire format of the game was properly introduced in India’s domestic circuit too. The announcement came from the Basketball Federation of India (BFI) – India’s governing body of Basketball – at the National Basketball Championship in Ludhiana (Punjab). The BFI held their Annual General Meeting (AGM) during the largest domestic hoops event in the country, in which CEO Roopam Sharma announced that national level 3×3 Basketball championships will be added to the BFI calendar starting this year both for the seniors and U18 levels in both Men’s and Women’s divisions.
Amit Sampat of the Times of India reported that India’s first national 3×3 championship is likely to be held in Kangra, Himachal Pradesh, in September this year in the Junior (U18) age level. BFI will return to Punjab for the Senior edition of the tournament later in the year.
“To attract more and more crowds in basketball we are also considering to promote 3-on-3 in addition to our regular 5-on-5 format,” said Roopam Sharma, “We wish to bring in some film stars, organize fashion shows to give a boost to Basketball’s shorter version which we are planning to conduct at tourists destinations in the country in future.”
She added, “For the first official event of the shorter version of Basketball, 16 teams in both the men and women category from across the country should combine to play in the 3-on-3 championship.”
These two events will be added to an already eventful annual calendar year of BFI’s Basketball tournaments, which include Nationals in the Sub-Junior, Youth, Junior, and Senior categories, as well as the Federation Cup of India’s best club teams.
India has participated in several 3×3 Basketball tournaments over the past few years, such as the 3×3 World Championship in Rimini (Italy), Asian 3×3 tournaments, and the Asian Beach Games. In June last year, India’s Women’s Senior team actually won gold at the 3×3 basketball championship at the 3rd Asian Beach Games in Haiyang, China. The National 3×3 tournaments in India this year will help to construct India’s teams for the next editions of 3×3 World Championships and Asian Championships.
The National-level 3×3 Basketball tournaments in India will be well-suited by FIBA/NBA’s own efforts to build grassroots interest in this format of the game. Last year, the NBA launched 3×3 tournaments in four regions across India – Delhi NCR, Hyderabad, Chennai, and Mumbai – in the U18 and Senior section. The interest and awareness of these tournaments is also likely to grow in the coming year.
Hate it or love it, FIBA’s efforts are moving a lot more focus to the shorter, smaller version of the game of basketball. FIBA devised their official rules for this basic half-court format of the game a few years ago, which include a shorter shot-clock, shorter game-clock, and of course, only three players on court per team. This format, FIBA believe, allows inclusiveness of many more nations and players across the world and levels the playing field between teams.
As a Basketball purist of the good ol’ full-court 5-on-5 game, I’m skeptical about the promotion of this format. If it serves to drive players otherwise ambivalent about the game to play more hoops and eventually graduate to the ‘real’ version, then that’s all good. But the primary focus of the game’s best players as well as its organisers should remain the true format of the game.
Still, more Basketball is always better than less Basketball. With 3×3 becoming bigger worldwide, it was the right move for BFI to make it a national-level tournament in India, too. Hopefully, it can generate more excitement about the game and bring more fans to the stands. And eventually, we hope that the domestic tournaments can help prepare Indian players to go on and win in the international stage. By the time the 2016 Olympics roll around, we’ll be ready!