FIBA is making a push to have three-on-three basketball part of the Olympics' menu of events as early as the 2016 Games, according to a report by USA Today.
Basketball's international governing body believes that three-on-three being adopted into the Games would help build the sport's brand across the globe and create more opportunities for those who aspire to be Olympians.
"We've chosen three-on-three as being one way of bringing that community into the Games," FIBA's secretary-general Patrick Baumann told USA Today. "For us, this is also really about growing the mass of players on a grass-roots basis. We want them to be part of the family and hopefully have new talents for the game."
Although it doesn't get the recognition five-on-five ball does, organized three-on-three games do exist away from driveways and schoolyards. Three-on-three has many big-time, competitive annual tournaments, such as Hoop It Up and Gus Macker, that exist domestically, as well as an international bracket that FIBA organizes. The sport has also already been integrated as part of the Youth Olympics.
FIBA hopes that it can soon implement an international rankings system that would determine the best trios in the world. From there, each country can do whatever it wants to figure out who represents it at the Olympics.
"Like volleyball has beach volleyball, swimming has synchronized swimming, we want three-on-three to be part of [the Olympics]," Baumann said.
However, would three-on-three basketball make the global impact FIBA is expecting on an Olympic stage? I'm not so sure. Then again, beach volleyball started out as a niche sport in 1996 and has exploded into one of the Olympics' most popular events. Oh, wait. That's right: bikinis.
But if FIBA is really intent on inflating basketball's international popularity, why not make a case for having a slam dunk contest become part of the Games? Yes, the NBA dunk contest has devolved into a largely oft-criticized, unimpressive event. But there are plenty of spectacularly creative and exciting dunk artists not in the NBA. Just search for Jus Fly on YouTube. That's one guy. There are droves of others out there. Come on, FIBA. Who says no?
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