3x3 basketball is a type of game when two three-a-side teams play with one basketball hoop. 3x3 has a history of being played in the streets throughout the United States of America and is also known as street basketball. It is appraised as the number one urban team sport on the planet. The governing body of 3x3 basketball is FIBA. FIBA stands for The International Basketball Federation. There are three types of events in 3x3 – men’s, women’s and mixed. It is one of the fastest-growing sports category and is backed tremendously by FIBA.
History of 3x3 basketball
FIBA took up the decision to try out the format for the first time at the 2007 Asian Indoor Games in Macau. After conducting more test events, the international debut was at the 2009 Asian Youth Games where a total of 19 teams competed in the boys category and 16 teams in the girls category.
FIBA’s path to 3x3 was when they decided to experiment with the game. By late 2011, FIBA decided to approve an international calendar for 3x3 basketball. Since then, they have decided to expand the program and went on to create individual world rankings and federation rankings as well. 3x3 eventually attained Olympic status in 2017.
The very first FIBA 3x3 World Cup was held in August 2012 in Athens, Greece. It was a tournament organized by FIBA for national teams. The tournament is marked by two competitions – one for men and one for women.
Rules and regulations of 3x3 basketball
FIBA continues to release a supplement from time to time which contains the rules and regulations for 3x3 basketball. The handbook states that the FIBA rules will apply to all situations not specifically addressed in the 3x3 rules.
Teams consist of three players and one substitute. The game is played on a half-court with one hoop. The circumference of the basketball is size 6 used in women’s game while it’s size 7 used in men’s game.
Scoring - Instead of a jump ball, a coin toss is used. The winner can choose to control the possession of the ball or take the first possession in case the game extends to overtime. A successful shot from inside the arc is awarded one point, while anything successful from beyond is two points.
Game duration - The match is played with one period of 10 minutes, with sudden death at 21 points. The team which is the first to score 21 or the team with the highest points at the end of 10 minutes wins. Level scores at the end of regulation time lead to an untimed overtime period which is won by the first team to score two points in overtime.
Possession - Every gameplay starts with the defensive team exchanging the ball with the offensive side beyond the arc. This particular exchange is also used to indicate the start of a game from any dead ball situation. A 12-second shot clock is used. In case the defensive team regains possession by a steal or rebound then the team must move the ball beyond the arc before being allowed to attempt a shot. After a successful field goal, a player of the non-scoring team takes the ball from directly under the basket and then dribble it to a point behind the arc.
Substitutions - A substitution can only happen when the substitute enters from behind the end line opposite to the basket. No action from referees is required unlike in the five a side game. Each team is given a single timeout.
Fouls and discipline - No player can be ejected for committing fouls, unless he commits two unsportsmanlike fouls in which case that player is disqualified. Fouls committed during the act of shooting inside the arc results in one free throw, while from outside the arc results in two free throws. Fouls number 7, 8 and 9 committed by the defending team result in two free throws for the opposition, and team fouls which exceed 10 or more are awarded two free throws and possession of the ball. The "bonus" rule displaces the normal rule for fouls in the motion of shooting. Offensive fouls are not counted unless they are unsportsmanlike.
Popular 3x3 tournaments
FIBA 3x3 World Cup: This last edition of this event took place in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The very best players from around the planet battle it out for the coveted title in five different events: the men's 3x3 tournament, the women's 3x3 tournament, the Shoot-Out Contest (mixed), the Skills Contest (women) and last but not least the Jack's Casino Dunk Contest (men). The players are selected by their respective national federations to represent their country.
3x3 Pro Basketball League: Introduced to 6 cities across India, the premiere season of the 3x3 Pro Basketball League was a success in the country. Each round has an MVP (Most Valuable Player) as well as champion.
BIG3: The BIG3 is arguably the most popular 3-on-3 basketball league on the planet. The tournament was founded by music mogul and actor Ice Cube along with entertainment executive Jeff Kwatinetz. The roster of the teams consists of both former NBA players and international players. However, there exist a lot of deviation in terms of official rules of 3-on-3 basketball monitored by FIBA.
Popular 3x3 players
Dusan Domovic Bulut: Currently ranked the No.1 in men’s individual 3x3 rankings by FIBA, Dusan plays for Novi Sad Al-Wahda and Serbia Men’s National 3x3 Team. He’s won two gold medals at the FIBA 3x3 World Championships, the first one in 2012 in Greece and the other one in 2016 in China. In 2017, he won his third gold title for Serbia was selected in the FIBA 3x3 World Cup 2017 Team of the Tournament.
Dejan Majstorovic: Currently ranked world No. 2 in men’s individual 3x3 rankings, Dejan plays for Novi Sad Al-Wahda and Serbia Men’s National 3x3 Team as well. He started to play at the FIBA 3x3 World Tour in June 2013. He also won two gold medals at the FIBA 3x3 World Championships (in China in 2016 and in France in 2017) and a silver medal at the 2014 tournament in Russia. He was also named MVP of the FIBA 3x3 World Cup 2017 and was selected for the Team of the Tournament.
Laetitia Guapo: Initially into athletics, Guapo’s family has a background in sports, and she was very good at it. She can run 10k in under 35 minutes, which is just 5 minutes shy of the world record. Her first interaction with the sport came when she played for her university team. She was an immediate success as she won the World University League during the 2016-17 season. Later on she went on to play alongside U23 Nations league MVP Caroline Heriaud. She is now ranked 1st in two points made, 3rd in drives and 4th in blocks in the Women’s Series.